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Konarka to Develop Photovoltaic Fabric With Leading Swiss University


 

LOWELL, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 16, 2005--Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in developing and commercializing power plastics that convert light to energy, today announced it is developing photovoltaic fabric with Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL). The Photovoltaic Fibers and Textiles Based on Nanotechnology program is expected to yield the first fully integrated woven photovoltaic material. Such material will allow for tighter integration of power generation capabilities into devices, systems and structures beyond what is possible with plastic film.

"Photovoltaic textiles could positively increase the number of applications available to solar technology by extending integration to objects made from fabrics, such as garments, tents or coverings," said Daniel Patrick McGahn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Konarka. "We'll be able to offer to the marketplace practical new products, such as wearable power generation for mobile electronics made from the solar fabric."

As part of its ongoing research and development activities, Konarka has already demonstrated it can produce a working photovoltaic fiber. To weave a fabric, Konarka and EPFL will optimize the strength, thickness and electrical performance of the photovoltaic fiber. In addition, the team will work to interweave fibers so as to maximize the performance of the textile without compromising the fibers' integrity. The goal is to produce a fabric sample with at least a four percent efficiency rating.

"This unique solar fabric represents a leap forward for photovoltaic technology," said Dr. Russell Gaudiana, Konarka's vice president of research and development. "It will enable power generation capabilities to be woven in rather than applied. For example, we're able to incorporate our light-activated power plastic onto tenting materials, such as canvas or nylon. Using the fiber, the tent's base material becomes photovoltaic."

The EPFL team is led by Dr. Jan-Anders Manson, the director of the Laboratory of Composite and Polymer Technology, who is well known for his work as the scientific coordinator for the EPFL-Alinghi Project, which designed the yacht that won the 2003 Americas Cup. The undertaking is expected to last one year and is funded by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI). CTI promotes the rapid conversion of state-of-the-art laboratory findings to marketable products through cooperation between educational institutions and industry.

This new endeavor further deepens Konarka's close relationship with the university. In 2002, Konarka became the first company in the United States to license Dr. Michael Gratzel's dye-sensitized solar cell technology, which augmented its own intellectual property. Since then, Dr. Gratzel has served as a senior scientific advisor to the Company, helping it to commercialize its light-activated plastic power.

About Konarka Technologies, Inc.

Konarka builds products that convert light to energy - anywhere. Konarka is the leading developer of polymer photovoltaic products that provide a source of renewable power in a variety of form factors for commercial, industrial, government and consumer applications. Konarka's photovoltaic nanotechnology is focused on delivering lightweight, flexible, scalable and manufacturable products. Konarka has a broad portfolio of patents, technology licenses and an accomplished technical team. Nobel Laureate Professor Alan Heeger (UC Santa Barbara) is the chief scientist for Konarka, and Dr. Michael Gratzel (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) is a senior scientific advisor. Konarka Technologies is headquartered in Lowell, Mass., U.S.A., with research and development subsidiaries in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. For more information, visit www.konarka.com or contact Tracy Wemett, BroadPR, at 617-868-5031 or tracy@broadpr.com.

All trademarks recognized.


Contact:
BroadPR
Tracy Wemett, 617-868-5031
tracy@broadpr.com


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