by Nichole Smith
It’s been something of a rough road for Queanbeyan-based solar technology company Dyesol but things appear back on track with its latest innovation attracting significant international investment interest.
The company, founded by Gavin and Sylvia Tulloch in 2004 is starting to gain real traction with major technical breakthroughs pushing the share price to a 52 week high. Its solar cell technology reproduces energy in a process similar to photosynthesis, generating electricity through titanium and dye cells melded into panels of steel or glass.
However, issues with delayed production schedules and a public stoush between the board and the co-founders, who resigned last year, resulted in an operating loss of $8.9 million for 2012 and a significantly decreased share price.
Now the Saudi Arabian national petrochemical company Tasnee has invested $4 million with an option to inject up to $20 million more, based on Dyesol’s revelation of break-through technology that it states should become grid competitive with recent dramatic efficiency improvements.
According to executive chairman Richard Caldwell, such performance levels are the ‘holy grail’ of renewable energy technologies, producing electricity more efficiently and cost-effectively, even in low-light conditions.
“Dye Solar Cell technology works a bit like an indoor plant: we don’t need direct sunlight to be performing best, therefore we have a considerable advantage over 1st and 2nd generation photovoltaic technologies in solar markets where light conditions are sub-optimal, such as Europe, North America and North-East Asia.”
“With global energy demand projected to increase by 49 percent over the next 30 years, there is a surging demand for additional sources of energy.”
Integrating Dysol into building products
Work is now underway to integrate the Dye Solar Cell technology into a range of commercial product solutions, including a ‘green alternative’ to standard glass building facades and windows and a ‘green-alternative’ steel roofing product. For Caldwell this is also another step closer to his vision of solar panels that will revolutionise the industry.
“Half the electricity in the world is consumed in buildings and there are significant new building codes around the world that aim at building-energy neutrality. Essentially, this means buildings have to become largely self-sufficient and very few technologies allow for that.
Dye Solar Cell technology works a bit like an indoor plant: we don’t need direct sunlight to be performing best
“The roofs and the walls, depending on the nature of the architecture of the building, will be used for energy harvesting and energy conservation with razor-thin layers on steel facades or even on transparent panes of glass.”
He is also positive about the solar industry in general, despite the withdrawal of government financial support at home.
“We have a very positive outlook for solar industry growth as economic confidence returns and we are especially positive in relation to the Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) market which is our key focus moving forward, turning buildings into power generators.”
Dyseol’s relationship with Tasnee opens the way to a host of new opportunities. “Because of their historical reliance on petrochemicals they are looking to diversify into renewable technologies as oil reserves are slowly depleted.
“For Dyesol, it is now time for the company to further develop as a commercial venture and bring this fantastic renewable energy source to the mass market.”