Michael Gratzel has the rare honour of having a type of photovoltaic cell named after him. The Gratzel cell was first developed over 15 years ago but is now ready for manufacture and release onto the market. Technology Review talked to him about bringing the product to market.
Technology Review: Why has it been so difficult to make efficient, yet inexpensive solar cells that could compete with fossil fuels as sources of electricity?
Michael Gratzel: It’s perhaps just the way things evolved. Silicon cells were first made for [outer] space, and there was a lot of money available so the technology that was first developed was an expensive technology. The cell we have been developing on the other hand is closer to photosynthesis.