Stanford team wins MIT Clean Energy Prize with new solar material


The team of PhD chemical engineering students has developed a carbon nano-based transparent electrode that they say will increase the efficiency of thin film photovoltaic solar panels, by allowing up to 12 percent more sunlight to penetrate the panels.

“Our innovation is a cross-cutting technology that not only has the potential to increase the efficiency of solar panels, it can be used in the manufacture of television, computer and cell phone touch screens and electronic displays to increase performance and lower cost,” said Melburne C. LeMieux, C3Nano founder and chief science officer. “Winning this competition literally enables us to take the next step towards moving this important technology out of the laboratory and into the marketplace.”

Tom May, chairman, president and CEO of NSTAR added: “Solar energy technologies diversify energy supplies and offset greenhouse gas emissions, but their costs have so far been a barrier to widespread installation in New England.

“The technology developed by this team is potentially transformative in making solar energy a viable option to consumers throughout the region and has the added benefit of other significant applications.”

C3Nano, Inc. was selected from over sixty other teams from 35 universities by prominent judges for their technology’s potential impact to enhance existing photovoltaic systems. The team includes: Ajay Virkar, Jeff Sabados and Melburne LeMieux under the guidance of professor Zhenan Bao’s Chemical Engineering Lab at Stanford University.