An innovative renewables firm which makes solar cells so flexible they can be rolled up or added to clothing is to raise £5 million to create its own bespoke technology facility.
Molecular Solar, a spin-out company from the University of Warwick, wants to raise the cash to bring its technology to the marketplace.
The firm has developed a range of new technologies which it believes places it in a unique position to exploit organic solar cells for a range of new energy-saving applications.
Molecular Solar researcher Professor Tim Jones from the University of Warwick said: “We are working with solar cells made from organic semiconductor materials which offer the prospect of very low-cost manufacture of lightweight, flexible cells.
“They are made from sustainable materials and can be deployed as flexible sheets that could be used for a variety of applications, including a solar-powered mobile phone charger that rolls up into a shape as small as the size of a pen, micro-lights that can be added to clothing, and a detachable sun-shade for automobile windscreens that powers a small integral fan to circulate air and cool the interior of the car when parked in direct sunlight.”
Molecular Solar is participating in a £2.1 million project being funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and other companies to develop prototype “third-generation” organic solar cells, which are more efficient than their predecessors.
The firm also attracted significant venture capital support after the announcement that it had developed a gold-plated window as the transparent electrode for organic solar cells.
Dr Mark Payton, managing director of Mercia Fund Management which led the company’s latest investment round alongside management and private investors, said: “Our model is to back world-leading academic excellence associated with scalable, disruptive technology – Molecular Solar excels on all fronts and we see this new venture as the potential leader in the development of third-generation organic solar technology making this form of energy provision open to a much broader marketplace.”