The Winner of the Award RUSNANOPRIZE 2017 Was the Creator of High-efficiency Solar Cells Michael Grätzel
The RUSNANOPRIZE award was established in 2009 and is awarded annually for the best nanotechnology developments implemented in mass production in one of four directions: “Nanomaterials and Surface Modification”, “Medicine, Pharmacology and Biotechnology”, “Optics and Electronics”, “Energy Efficiency and Green Technologies”. The award can be received by a group of scientists (no more than three people) and a company that commercialized their development. The laureates are chosen by the International Committee, which includes scientists and business representatives who have achieved outstanding results in the field in which the award is presented this year. In 2017, the prize is awarded for developments in the field of nanomaterials and surface modification.
The RUSNANOPRIZE 2017 international award committee decided to award the prize to Michael Grätzel, professor of physical chemistry and head of the photonics laboratory and interfaces of the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Chemical Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne. He is among the ten most cited chemists in the world: his Hirsch index is 228, and the number of citations exceeds 260,000.
“Today the whole world is intensively searching for new methods and materials that can improve the efficiency of solar energy. It is important that the solar cells, which his work helped create, can solve both strategic and everyday tasks: from the creation of high-performance power plants to recharging mobile devices. The development of today’s laureate is the so-called perovskite technologies, the next generation of materials for solar cells. But there are also ‘Grätzel cells’, named after the author. They, for example, are used in solar panels that can be built in and fit organically into modern residential buildings. Both perovskite technologies and the ‘Grätzel cells’ are now leaving laboratories and becoming part of the industry. It is obvious that it is these technologies that the future of solar energy is connected with,” said Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of the Board of Management Company RUSNANO, in the award ceremony.
Grätzel in the early 1990s created dye-sensitized solar cells, which are now known as “Grätzel cells”. Their use allowed to increase the efficiency of solar cells from 3-8% to 22.1%. It was for this development that he was awarded the prize.
Today the name of Michael Grätzel is associated with a new direction in solar energy, which he headed - perovskite photovoltaics. It opened fundamentally new approaches to the creation of solar cells, which allows to significantly increase their efficiency and accordingly reduce their cost, which, in the end, creates a growing new global market, complementing the segment of silicon solar cells.
The scientific group of Professor Michael Grätzel owns several records in the field of creating perovskite solar cells, which revolutionized the field of photovoltaics, achieving efficiency of 22%. Such efficiencies currently exceed the efficiency values of silicon analogues, and their industrial production is planned to commence already in the very near future.
The prize was also awarded to Exeger, a company engaged in the commercialization of Grätzel’s products.
The organizer of the RUSNANOPRIZE award is the Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (RUSNANO Group). The monetary part of the Prize is 3 mln roubles. The scientist, the author of the development, receives the monetary part of the Prize, the award symbol and the honorary diploma of the laureate. The company, which applied the development in mass production and achieved commercial success through its implementation, is awarded the honorary diploma and the award symbol.
The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs (FIEP) was established in 2010 in accordance with federal law № 211-FZ On Reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies. Its purpose is to develop innovative infrastructure for nanotechnology, including realizing educational programs and infrastructure projects earlier begun by RUSNANO.
The chairman of the Supervisory Council, the fund’s highest governing body, is Dmitry Livanov, minister of education and science of the Russian Federation. As stipulated in the charter of the fund, the council determines the priority areas of the fund’s endeavors, sets its strategies, and establishes its budget. Anatoly Chubais, RUSNANO CEO, is chairman of the Management Committee. The fund’s CEO is Andrey Svinarenko.
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The RUSNANOPRIZE was established in 2009 by Russian Nanotechnologies Corporation, which is one of the world’s largest investment companies in the innovation industry. The prize is awarded to both Russian and foreign nationals. Four of the eight winners in the five-year history of the award have been foreign designers.
The RUSNANOPRIZE aims to promote:
- integration of the needs of business with the interests of the scientific community;
- broader public awareness of developments and practical applications in the field of nanotechnology;
- the encouragement of experimental and applied research and development in nanotechnology and their use in industry;
- international cooperation in this field;
- public recognition of the role of the individual scientists, developers and teams that carry out scientific research.