Watt d’Or 2014
Plants convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis, but the efficiency rate of this process of between 1 and 4 percent is surprisingly low. However, plants compensate for the relatively low energy yield in that photosynthesis takes place even during periods of very low light intensity, and thus functions from dawn to dusk. And this is precisely how the third generation of photovoltaic functions, namely dye-sensitised solar cell technology, also known as the Grätzel cell. In a technical photosynthesis process using light-sensitive dyes, these transparent cells produce electricity even in poorly lit surroundings. H.Glass (before glass2energy SA), which is based in Villaz-St-Pierre in the canton of Fribourg, is the first company in the world to develop this technology to industrial maturity. Before long we can expect to see these attractive panels installed on the surfaces of furniture, and on walls, windows and facades. The 2014 Watt d’Or in the “Renewable energies” category was awarded to H.Glass, which is paving the way for inexpensive and aesthetic electricity production in the sophisticated world of the future.