The award “global energy” was awarded to Michael Gratzel – the inventor of a special photosensitive conductors, which can become the basis of energy future.

The solar cells of the Graetzel, operating on the principles of photosynthesis, now look like the best alternative to expensive and difficult to manufacture silicon photovoltaic cells. They represent a photosensitive mesoporous oxide semiconductors; basic principles of their structure was described in 1991 in the journal Nature.

Michael Gratzel. (Photo by press-service of the award “global energy”.)

(Photo by press-service of the award “global energy”.)”

The basis of the first cell of Graetzel was a porous layer of nanoparticles of titanium oxide, saturated organic dye , which can effectively absorb solar light. At first they were not too effective and not too stable because of the used in liquid electrolyte and organic dye.

Gratzel and his colleagues for many years looking for a way to replace the liquid electrolyte solid organic semiconductor. In place of organic dye subsequently came materials with the structure of perovskites. This structure has some oxides, halides, intermetallic compounds; also, the perovskite structure (or derived from it) have high-temperature superconductors, ion conductors and a magnetic materials and ferroelectrics.

Solar cells based on new materials allowed to increase the efficiency of the device, which led to a huge amount of development in this area. As a result, for several years the efficiency of new solar cells increased from 9.7% to 22.1%. It should also be noted that the batteries on the basis of the Graetzel cell can generate energy at various frequencies of light up to infrared; besides, you can do them flexible and give them different colors.

During direct communication with the press center of ITAR-TASS Michael Gratzel mentioned great progress in the development of perovskite photovoltaics achieved by scientists of chemical faculty of Moscow state University. M. V. Lomonosov, with which it is partnered. Answering questions of journalists, laureate noted that a maximum of five years from the modules based on perovskite solar cells will find application in cheap and efficient solar power.

As for the prospects of energy based on the use of hydrocarbons, the oil, according to Graetzel, will be the main source of energy for another 50 years, or gas, maybe a little more.

The Chairman of the International prize Committee and Nobel prize winner 2007 Rodney John Allam has stressed that every year more and more works nominated for the award “global energy” associated with the development of energy based on renewable sources of energy.

Member of the International Committee awarding the “global energy” Adnan Amin added that the last three years, the majority introduced new capacity using renewable sources of energy, and that according to him the cost of generation of 1 kWh of solar power plants in the next ten years will fall 60%. The same predictions were made for wind energy.

I should add that among the ten nominees shortlisted for the award this year were such famous people like Elon Musk (USA), Beria Oganesyan (Russia), Igor Sins (Russia), Martin green (Australia), etc. (full list here). The prize this year is about 700 thousand U.S. dollars (39 million).