Swiss solar cell inventor wins technology prize

Swiss scientist Michael Graetzel won the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize Thursday for helping to develop cheap solar cells for renewable energy projects.

Helsinki: Swiss scientist Michael Graetzel won the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize Thursday for helping to develop cheap solar cells for renewable energy projects.

The German-born chemist, director of the photonics and interfaces laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne in the Swiss city of the same name - was awarded the euro 800,000 prize by the Technology Academy of Finland for his innovation, which led to the development of electricity-generating windows and mobile solar panels.
The Finnish academy said finding ways to replace the Earth`s diminishing fossil fuel supply was one of mankind`s greatest challenges, adding that the sun is "the most obvious
energy source."

"The constraint of solar energy has traditionally been its price. Graetzel cells provide a more affordable way of harnessing solar energy," said Ainomaija Haarla, president of
the academy.

"Graetzel`s innovation is likely to have an important role in low-cost, large-scale solutions for renewable energy." The academy described the price-performance ratio of
Graetzel`s cells as "excellent, adding that they had just made their commercial debut.

"The technology often described as `artificial photosynthesis` ... is made of low-cost materials and does not need an elaborate apparatus to manufacture," the academy said.
Graetzel, 66, won the main prize while runners up -Sir Richard Friend and Stephen Furber, both British – were each awarded euro 150,000 for plastic electronics and
microprocessors.

PTI

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