Oxford solar cell pioneer named as only UK scientist in Nature’s Top 10

Dr Henry Snaith of the University of Oxford has been named as one of the ten people who have made the most difference in science during 2013 in recognition of his work on next generation solar power technology.

The accolade is from Nature, the highly respected international journal responsible for the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology.  

Dr Snaith, the only UK-based scientist on the list, was selected for his work developing cheap and efficient perovksite-base solar cells, which can be integrated into the glass facades of buildings. The efficiencies of these solar cells have reached over 15% this year, overtaking other emerging solar technologies which have yet to break the 14% barrier despite decades of research. The semi-transparent nature of the perovskite cells also makes them more versatile and attractive to building designers.

“This last year has felt like science in fast forward, and for our achievements to be recognised so highly is a tremendous reward for myself and the team,” said Dr Snaith of Oxford University's Department of Physics, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Oxford Photovoltaics (PV).

This caps a busy year for Dr Snaith and for Oxford PV, the company which holds the exclusive license for the technology at the heart of the research. Major breakthroughs in the research have demonstrated the ability for the perovskite cells to reach high efficiencies, performing competitively with many of the best current solar-cell technologies. Oxford PV has scooped a number of awards for its progress in the commercialisation of the technology during 2013 including the British Renewable Energy Association’s Innovation Award, the UK Business Angels’ Best Early Stage Investment in a Disruptive Technology Business Award and the Solar Award for Excellence: BIPV Innovation at the 2013 Solar UK Industry Awards

Kevin Arthur, Oxford PV’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer commented: “We are absolutely delighted for Henry and his team at the university and are extremely proud of our work with them. This is a great boost for Oxford PV as we move rapidly towards our first licensing deal and also a huge vote of confidence in British science and engineering.”

Selected by Nature’s editors, the third annual list includes: Feng Zhang, a biologist who helped to develop a powerful genome-editing technique; Tania Simoncelli, for her role in a lawsuit that overturned an important gene patent in the United States; Deborah Persaud, a virologist who helped to establish that a baby born with HIV had been cleared of the virus; Naderev Saño, the Filipino diplomat who focused attention on global warming in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan; Michel Mayor, the Swiss astronomer behind one of the most notable exoplanet discoveries in years; Viktor Grokhovsky, for leading the way in collecting pieces of the asteroid that exploded over Russia in February; Hualan Chen, who helped China to contain its H7N9 avian influenza outbreak; Shoukhrat Mitalipov, a reproductive biologist who developed a line of stem cells from cloned human embryos; and Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist who unearthed disturbing trends in sexual assaults at field sites.

Notes to editors:

Oxford Photovoltaics (Oxford PV) is a spin-out from Oxford University, which has exclusively licensed and is developing a photovoltaic technology that has the potential to deliver low cost, efficient solar cells that can be readily incorporated into glass building facades, turning skyscrapers into vertical power stations.

Based at Begbroke Science Park, Oxford PV’s primary objective is to deliver a massively scalable product for the Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) market and then, as energy conversion performance improves further, for other high-volume PV applications.

Backed by £7m of equity and grant funding, Oxford PV’s research and development team is moving swiftly towards the manufacture and delivery of larger modules that meet internationally accepted standards and specifications for photovoltaic products.

Its primary objective is to deliver a massively scalable product for the Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) market and then, as energy conversion performance improves further, for other high-volume PV applications.

If you would like to interview Dr Snaith, please contact the University of Oxford Press Office on +44(0) 1865 280532 or press.office@admin.ox.ac.uk

For further information or to interview Kevin Arthur please contact:

Sarah Rutt / Robert Pine / Mona Lindell

T: 020 7247 8334

M: 07885 745472/ 07894 462 342 / 07534 970 722

E: Sarah@ing-media.com / Robert@ing-media.com / Mona@ing-media.com

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