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University of Warwick & partners awarded £1.4 million in national solar energy programme

The University of Warwick is a key part of a consortium that has just been awarded £1.4 Million by a new national programme designed to develop the next generation of solar energy harvesting technology.

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded the £1.4 million to a consortium that includes The University of Warwick; the companies Kurt Lesker, Asylum Research, New World Solar, and Molecular Solar, and Imperial College London. Together they will work on the development of Prototype High Efficiency Multi-Junction Organic Solar Cells.

Professor Tim Jones from the University of Warwick said:

“We are working with solar cells made from organic semiconductor materials which offer the prospect of very low cost manufacture of lightweight, flexible cells. They are made from sustainable materials and can be deployed as flexible sheets that could be used for a variety of applications including: a solar powered mobile phone charger that’s rolls up into a shape as small as the size of a pen, micro-lights that can be added to clothing, and a detachable sun-shade for automobile windscreens that powers a small integral fan to circulate air and cool the interior of the car when parked in direct sunlight.”

Peter Ballantyne from Molecular Solar, a spin-out company from the University of Warwick, which will be developing this new technology said:

“The low cost and flexibility of this new technology will lead to new applications that will further accelerate the growth of the solar power market, which has seen 40%/year growth over the last 10 years. Just one significant opportunity in consumer applications is the area of mobile phone chargers where over 1.3 billion units a year are produced.”

In total fifteen British businesses and seven universities will share £5 million of government funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to enable them to research the use of novel nanoscale technologies to develop the next generation of solar energy harvesting.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

“These projects will help to position British businesses to exploit the growing global demand for solar energy harvesting technologies – and in the process help grow the British economy – while at the same time provide sustainable energy solutions for the UK. The projects are great examples of how to transfer commercially-focused research into the business community.”

David Delpy, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said:

“This is the first example of Nanoscience research funding from the Research Councils being directly pulled through to application funding with the Technology Strategy Board via a stage-gated funding route. This approach actively supports economic growth whilst helping to solve one of society's greatest challenges.”

For further information please contact:

Professor Tim Jones University of Warwick Tel: +44 (0)2476 528265
Email: t.s.jones@warwick.ac.uk

Peter Dunn, Head of Communications
Communications Office, University House,
University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 8UW, United Kingdom
email: p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)24 76 523708 Mobile/Cell: +44 (0)7767 655860

PR34 25th March 2011