BBC News - Swiss Solar Innovator Wins Millennium Technology Prize

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<ul><li><p>BBC News</p><p>Gratzel cells mimic natural plant photosynthesis</p><p>The inv entor of a low-cost solar cell that could be used to build electricitygenerating windows has been awarded this year's Millennium TechnologyPrize.</p><p>Professor Michael Gratzel of the Lausanne Federal Technology Institutereceived the 800,000 (660,000) prize at a ceremony in Helsinki.</p><p>Professor Gratzel's innovation mimics the way plants turn l ight into energy.</p><p>Two British inventors also won prizes of 150,000 (124,000) each.</p><p>The three shortl isted entries were all vying for the world's biggest technologyprize, which is awarded every other year by Finland's Technology Academy.</p><p>Big honourProfessor Gratzel expressed his excitement to BBC News: "It was a wonderfulexperience to win the grand prix, and of course a tremendous honour".</p><p>"The constraint of solar energy has traditionally been its price. 'Gratzel cells'provide a more affordable way of harnessing solar energy," said Dr AinomaijaHaarla, President of Technology Academy Finland.</p><p>"Gratzel's innovation is l ikely to have an important role in low-cost, large-scalesolutions for renewable energy."</p><p>You could think that the glass of all high-rises in New York would be electricitygenerating panels</p><p>Professor Michael Gratzel Millennium Technology Prize winner</p><p>Swiss solar innovator winsMillennium Technology prize16:44 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 17:44 UK</p><p>A DV E RT I S E M E NT</p></li><li><p>Explaining his inspiration, he said: "I was always intrigued by the way plantscapture sunlight and turn it into fuels l ike sugar.</p><p>"Natural photosynthesis was the inspiration, and our solar cell is the only onethat mimics the natural photosynthetic process."</p><p>Gratzel cells rely on nanotechnology to produce power from sunlight. "We areusing nanocrystal fi lms in which the particles are so small, they don't scatterlight," said Professor Gratzel.</p><p>"You can imagine using those cells as electricity producing windows.</p><p>"What's very exciting is that you collect l ight from all sides, so can captureelectricity from the inside as well as the outside.</p><p>"You could think that the glass of all high-rises in New York would be electricitygenerating panels," he said.</p><p>Gratzel cells have recently been launched in consumer products, including asbattery charging backpacks, and Professor Gratzel said that the 800,000 prizewould benefit his research and go back into science.</p><p>The shortlistBoth the other shortl isted nominations for the prize were British inventors, eachof whom won 150,000.</p><p>Professor Sir Richard Friend of the University of Cambridge invented organicLight Emitting Diodes, which Finland's Technology Academy said was "acrucial milestone in plastic electronics".</p><p>"Electronic paper, cheap organic solar cells and il luminating wall paper areexamples of the revolutionary future products his work has made possible," itsaid.</p><p>And Professor Stephen Furber of Manchester University is the principaldesigner of the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, an innovation found ingadgets ranging from Apple's iPhone to Microsoft's Zune. The Academy said it"revolutionised mobile electronics".</p><p>It said: "The ingeniously designed processor enabled the development ofcheap, powerful handheld, battery-operated devices".</p><p>Previous winners of the prize have included Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who iswidely credited as having invented the web, and Professor Shuji Nakamura,who invented blue and white Light Emitting Diodes.</p><p> MMXThe BBC is not responsible for thecontent of external internet sites.</p></li></ul>