G24 Innovations Limited (G24i), a UK-based company that aims to revolutionise solar power by leading the development of extremely lightweight, flexible solar cells, has announced the winning concepts from a competition which challenged students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to design a product that utilises its cutting edge technology.
The 45 students—all from the school’s Product Design Course— had spent time at G24i’s Cardiff site to learn about the technology. The site will be the first factory to mass produce dye-sensitised solar cells, a technology that combines innovative material science and nanotechnology to generate renewable power in a process similar to photosynthesis. Students were then invited to showcase their final designs in front of a panel of expert judges:
- Peter Houghton, partner, Environmental Technologies Fund
- Professor Martin Darbyshire, founder, Tangerine Design Studio
- Paul Sayers, Product Design Lecturer, Central Saint Martins College
- Clemens Betzel, President, G24i
- John Geenson, CFO, G24i
Ultimately two student concepts shared first prize: Lisa Fong’s solar-powered hoarding light designed for use on construction sites and Yasmin Sethi’s DSSC cone lamp aimed at providing low cost eco-friendly lighting in the developing world.
The commercial viability of the hoarding light concept caught the eye of the judges; a solution which reduces the time and cost associated with fulfilling mandatory lighting obligations on construction sites. Using G24i’s dye-sensitised solar cells the design is cost effective and removes the need for wires and cabling. Ms Fong combined a row of super-bright LED lights and a small battery pack into a slim design that could be fitted directly to scaffolding or against hoardings.
The cone lamp concept was rewarded for making particularly effective use of the technology’s lightweight and flexible properties. With the developing nations market in mind, the simple style of the lighting is designed for low cost manufacture, significantly cutting the cost of the final product. During the day, the lamp could be opened out flat to charge in the light, while in the evening it is rolled into a cone shape to be hung for use where needed.
“Who better to design a product that has such potential to positively impact the world, than the young people who will be most affected by that technology,” said Clemens Betzel, president of G24i. “We are delighted with the quality of these concepts and many warrant careful consideration as we gear up to full production.”
G24i’s facility will have an initial 30MW capacity with plans for an extension to 200MW by 2008. The technology works in ambient and low-light conditions, bringing the full potential of solar energy to new industries and areas of the world. G24i is developing products to power mobile telephones, portable electronics, clothing, tents, and building integrated applications. It also sees a significant role for its technology in addressing energy access in the developing world.