Solterra enters worldwide exclusive license with Rice University
October 9, 2008--Solterra agrees to develop large-scale manufacturing of Rice's low-cost, efficient, quantum-dot solar panels.
October 9, 2008--Hague Corp. (Winnipeg, Manitoba), a resource exploration company, has announced that Solterra Renewable Technologies, Inc. (Chiasso, Switzerland) has concluded the worldwide exclusive license with Rice University (Houston, TX) for intellectual property which includes the "Synthesis of Uniform Nanoparticle Shapes with High Selectivity." The licensing agreement covers the manufacture and sale of photovoltaic cells and quantum dots for electronic and medical applications. Hague and Solterra announced they had entered into a binding letter of intent on October 3, 2008.
Rice University's breakthrough discovery has been the highlight of numerous scientific journal articles and has gained the attention of mainstream news media. This new chemical method for making low-cost, four-legged (tetrapod) cadmium selenide quantum dots, which previous research has shown to be particularly effective at converting sunlight into electrical energy, knocks down a major barrier in developing quantum-dot-based photovoltaics as an alternative to the conventional, more expensive, silicon-based solar cells.
"The lack of low-cost, high-quality tetrapods of the cadmium selenide kind has been a major roadblock in developing tetrapod-based solar-cell devices," says Stephen B. Squires, CEO and president of Solterra. "With this breakthrough technology, we are now positioned to revolutionize the solar-panel industry by offering the most cost effective and efficient panels ever produced when they are more in demand than ever before."
The Rice process produces same-sized particles, in which more than 90% are tetrapods; previously even in the best recipe less than 50% of the prepared particles were tetrapods. Furthermore, the Rice process uses cheaper raw materials and fewer purification steps, reducing the production cost by 80% or more. A positively charged molecule called cetyltrimethylammonium bromide provides this drastic improvement in tetrapod manufacture. This compound, found in some shampoos, also happens to be 100 times cheaper than alkylphosphonic acids and is far safer, further simplifying the manufacturing process.
In addition to photovoltaic applications, low-cost high-quality quantum dots are widely thought to be the enabling factor for a variety of other emerging technologies, including high-performance quantum-dot lasers, color displays, solid-state lighting, bioimaging, quantum computers, and solar/hydrogen generation.
Solterra is scheduled to begin scale up of this revolutionary technology in early November 2008 with commercial production anticipated to begin in the second half of 2009.