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Dyesol to set up R&D lab in Japan

Sara Ver-Bruggen - 31 May 2011


Dye solar cell (DSC) materials supplier Dyesol has secured a grant from the Japanese government to establish an R&D centre.

Sony has produced a number of products to demonstrate DSC technology including lanterns, which incorporate elements of traditional Japanese design. Image: SonyAustralian firm Dyesol is one of five international recipients offered subsidies as part of a ¥2.5 billion (€21 million) programme led by the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI) in Japan.

Supported by METI, Dyesol will establish a materials integration centre in Asia. The centre will build on the company's existing R&D relationships with research labs in Japan, and result in materials with improved and enhanced performance, as DSC technology scales up in the coming years. IP generated by the centre will be made available to Dyesol's industrial partners around the world, such as Tata Steel in the UK.

The R&D centre, anticipated to be up and running by the end of 2012, will also position Dyesol to enter collaborative industrialisation projects with Japanese corporations supplying the consumer electronics market, or components for it.


Japan

For the Japanese government, the 'the Subsidy Programme for Promoting Asian Site Location in Japan' supports the establishment of new high-value-added sites in Japan, projected to have a significant impact on the Japanese economy.

'Projects were judged based on their uniqueness, added value and potential ripple effects on the Japanese economy, as well as on their overseas locational competitiveness,' according to METI.

Dyesol has many ongoing partnerships around the world to commercialise its DSC materials, in applications ranging from consumer electronics to building-integrated photovoltaics.

However the majority of its collaborations are in Japan, which is widely recognised as the centre of DSC technology. Dyesol's Japan-based partners include Merck, a subsidiary of the German chemicals producer, which is investigating non-volatile electrolytes.

Consumer electronics brand owner Sony has established a DSC programme for several years, incorporating Dyesol's materials. The company views DSC as a promising next-generation solar cell technology and part of its long-term strategic move into green tech. In August 2010 Sony announced a prototype DSC module with a power conversion efficiency of 9.9%.

Sony faces increased commercial rivalry in the consumer electronics industry from South Korean companies such as Samsung and LG, as well as Chinese companies, and is investing in emerging technologies such as DSC to enhance its competitiveness. Other notable Japanese DSC technology R&D efforts include Fujikura's work with the Tokyo University of Science.

Work on the R&D centre will start in July 2011.

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