Michael Graetzel awarded 2013 Marcel Benoist Prize

02.09.2013 07:34

Michael Graetzel, Professor of Physical Chemistry at the EPF Lausanne, is to receive this year’s Marcel Benoist Prize, the “Swiss Nobel Prize”. The dye-sensitive solar cells which Graetzel invented are brought to the market by companies such as Solaronix and the start-up Glass 2 Energy.

Born in Germany, Michael Graetzel joined the EPFL in 1977 where he chairs the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces. With his invention in 1988 of dye-sensitive solar cells, also more commonly known as ‘Graetzel cells', Michael Graetzel launched a new field of research in which thousands of researchers worldwide have embarked. Indeed, following this discovery, high priority research programmes and institutes were set up in various countries.

Over the years Michael Graetzel's group at the EPFL has been able to achieve efficiencies as high as 15% as well as improve the stability of these new types of solar cells. Such achievements, which have received world-wide recognition, make ‘Graetzel cells' a promising alternative to widely used silicon-based photovoltaic cells.

The Graetzel cells are brought to market by two EPFL spin-offs: Solaronix and the start-up Glass 2 Energy.

Michael Graetzel is one of the most successful chemists in the world with his work being cited more than 100,000 times. In addition to his academic work, Graetzel's research has also resulted in a number of patents and spin-off companies whose first applications are currently emerging on the market.

For his achievements, Michael Graetzel has been awarded prestigious prizes, the latest being the ‘2012 Albert Einstein World Award of Science'. He is also fellow of a number of societies and the recipient of several honorary doctorates.

The official ceremony to award the Marcel Benoist Prize will take place at the EPF Lausanne on 19 November 2013. The Prize, sometimes called the ‘Swiss Nobel Prize,' has been awarded every year since 1920 to researchers working in Switzerland for major contributions in disciplines of significance to human life.

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