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Solar energy programme gets significant financial boost

The Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded £1.4million to a new national programme established to develop highly efficient, multi junction organic solar cells.

A consortium, which includes The University of Warwick, Imperial College London, Kurt Lesker, Asylum Research, New World Solar and Molecular Solar, will work together to develop the next generation of solar energy harvesting technology.

"We are working with solar cells made from organic semiconductor materials which offer the prospect of very low cost manufacture of lightweight, flexible cells," said Professor Tim Jones from the University of Warwick, pictured. "They are made from sustainable materials and can be deployed as flexible sheets that could be used for a variety of applications. These include 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."

Iain Gray, chief executive of the TSB, added: "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. At the same time, they will provide sustainable energy solutions for the UK. The projects are great examples of how to transfer commercially focused research into the business community."

Laura Hopperton

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