Skip to content

2010 Millennium Prize for Low-Cost Solar Cells

Professor Michael Grätzel of Switzerland was declared the Winner of the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize in Helsinki on Wednesday for his third generation, low cost, dye-sensitized solar cells.

Image: Markku Ojala/EPA

President Tarja Halonen handed the 800,000 euro Grand Prize and the prize trophy to Professor Grätzel at an award ceremony at the Finnish National Opera.

The Winner of the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize, Professor Michael Grätzel, is Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

According to the prize committee, he has responded to the challenge of finding ways to replace the diminishing fossil fuel supply with his dye-sensitized solar cells.

The decision was made by the Board of Directors of Technology Academy Finland, based on the recommendation of the International Selection Committee.

The price/performance ratio of Grätzel's dye-sensitized solar cells is excellent. The technology, often described as "artificial photosynthesis", is a promising alternative to standard silicon photovoltaics. It is made of low-cost materials and does not need an elaborate apparatus to manufacture. Though Grätzel cells are still in relatively early stages of development, they show great promise as an inexpensive alternative to costly silicon solar cells and as an attractive candidate as a new renewable energy source.

Grätzel cells, which promise electricity-generating windows and low-cost solar panels, have just made their debut in consumer products.

Light and mobility

The two other 2010 Millennium Laureates were awarded each awarded prizes of 150,000 euros and trophies on Wednesday.

The initial innovation of Professor Sir Richard Friend, organic Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), was a crucial milestone in plastic electronics. Electronic paper, cheap organic solar cells and illuminating wall paper are examples of the revolutionary future products his work has made possible. Friend is the Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge.

Stephen Furber, Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester, is the principal designer of the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, an innovation that revolutionised mobile electronics. The processor enabled the development of cheap, powerful handheld, battery-operated devices. In the past 25 years nearly 20 billion ARM-based chips have been manufactured.

The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every second year by Technology Academy Finland. This was the fouth time that the awards have been handed out.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia