Swiss solar cell inventor wins technology prize

June 9, 2010 By MATTI HUUHTANEN , Associated Press Writer
Solar modules stand in Hasborn, western Germany on April 2010. A Swiss professor who developed a low-cost solar power cell using cheap materials such as dye squeezed from berries won a million-dollar technology prize in Finland on Wednesday.

Michael Graetzel of Switzerland has won the euro800,000 ($960,000) international Millennium Technology Prize for inventing low-cost solar cells used in renewable energy, organizers said Wednesday.

The German-born chemist - director of the photonics and interfaces laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, in Lausanne - was awarded the 2010 prize by the Technology Academy of Finland for his innovation, which led to the development of electricity-generating windows and mobile .

The academy described finding ways to replace the diminishing fossil fuel supply as one of mankind's greatest challenges, adding that the sun is "the most obvious 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."

It was the fourth time that Finland has awarded the biennial Millennium Technology Prize, which was launched by the government and industry in 2004. It is given for achievements in energy and the environment, communications and information, new materials and processes as well as health care and life sciences.

The previous winner, in 2008, was American Professor Robert Langer from MIT for developing bio-materials used in combatting cancer and heart disease.

Other winners include Japanese Professor Shuji Nakamura for inventions in laser technology and LED lighting, and Tim Berners-Lee, the MIT scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web.

Explore further: U.S. announces solar energy initiative

More information: .


Related Stories

U.S. announces solar energy initiative

June 28, 2006

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman has announced an initiative designed to make solar technology cost effective by 2015.

Nanotechnology 'fertile' for energy breakthrough

June 30, 2006

Thinking small may help solve one of the world's biggest problems -- the need for alternative energy sources -- according to scientists attending the first Energy Nanotechnology International Conference held June 26-28 at ...

Draper prize to go to MIT researcher

January 15, 2007

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher credited with inventing the World Wide Web is the winner of the 2007 Charles Stark Draper Prize.

Do the benefits of renewable energy sources stack up?

August 13, 2007

Do the overall efficiencies of renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal add up in terms of their complete life cycle from materials sourcing, manufacture, running, and decommissioning? Researchers in ...

Solar cells: UQAM researcher solves two 20-year-old problems

April 6, 2010

Thanks to two technologies developed by Professor Benoit Marsan and his team at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal (UQAM) Chemistry Department, the scientific and commercial future of solar cells could be totally transformed. ...

3 finalists in prize for technology breakthroughs

April 14, 2010

(AP) -- Three European inventors who helped create illuminated wallpapers, tiny fast processors in mobile phones, and cheap, high-performance cells used in solar panels are finalists in the euro1.1 million ($1.5 million) ...

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.