Dye-sensitized solar maker Dyesol Inc., (ASX: DYE) and Pilkington North America (PNA) have formed a joint venture called DyeTec Solar (DTS).
PNA is part of the NSG Group (NSG), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass and glazing products for the building, automotive and specialty glass markets and a leading supplier of Transparent Conductive Oxide (TCO) glass, and Dyesol is one of a few companies making dye solar cell (DSC) products.
DTS will be located in Toledo OH, near PNA’s corporate R&D centre.
The company will develop and deliver a Standard Technology Platform (STP) solution for mass manufacture of BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics), AIPV (Automotive Integrated Photovoltaics), as well as interior PV generating glass based products, powered displays and security devices. The STP is a configurable manufacturing equipment set and related processes that are designed to leverage TCO and DSC materials from PNA and Dyesol, respectively, and enable downstream suppliers in the global glass market to mass manufacture DSC-TCO glass based products.
BIPV represents the single largest market for DSC and TCO products, followed closely by AIPV. DTS will collaborate and assist companies globally, including existing customers and routes to market, to capture a significant share of the nearly 50 million tons of flat glass produced annually, of which 90% is used in buildings. Where most photovoltaic technologies work well while facing the sun, DSC based products allow all sides of a building to be electrically productive, and capable of producing power all day, every day, even in less than ideal conditions, the companies said.
DSC technology can best be described as ‘artificial photosynthesis’ using an electrolyte, a layer of titania (a pigment used in white paints and tooth paste) and ruthenium dye deposited on glass, metal or polymer substrates. Light striking the dye excites electrons which are absorbed by the titania to become an electric current many times stronger than that found in natural photosynthesis in plants.
Compared to conventional silicon based photovoltaic technology, Dyesol’s technology has lower cost and embodied energy in manufacture, it produces electricity more efficiently even in low light conditions and can be directly incorporated into buildings by replacing conventional glass panels or metal sheets rather than taking up roof or extra land area.
Michael Grätzel, the Swiss researcher who invented the technology, received the Millennium Technology Prize earlier this month.
The NSG Group has manufacturing operations in 29 countries and sales in 130 countries. Geographically, approximately half its sales are in Europe, one quarter in Japan and the rest primarily in the Americas, South East Asia and China. The Group operates three world-wide business lines. Building Products supplies glass for interior and exterior glazing in buildings and for the growing Solar Energy sector. Automotive serves the original equipment, replacement and specialised transport glazing markets. Specialty glass products include very thin glass for displays, lenses and light guides for printers and glass fibre, used in air filters and engine timing belts.
Dyesol is based in Queanbeyan NSW, near Canberra, Australia.