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The Tandem Cell concept was invented jointly by the EPFL and the University of Geneva (UoG), having been made possible thanks to a joint R&D project that was supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy over a considerable period of time. The Tandem Cell concept is the subject of a joint patent by Prof. Graetzel (EPFL) and Ian Augustynski (UoG).
Julian purchased an exclusive world-wide license from the EPFL for the application of the Tandem Cell technology. Further patents have been filed by Hydrogen Solar for the core components and coating technologies. The key objective is to industrialise and commercialise the technology, developing low cost and reliable volume production methods for the Tandem Cell so that it can generate hydrogen in a cost-effective way. In parallel we will improve the conversion efficiency of the tandem cell from the 3% previously demonstrated in the EPFL/UoG laboratories to 10% or 15%. We plan to lead and participate in engineering demonstration projects to prove the advantages of the Tandem Cell for industrial processes, vehicle refueling and subsequently applications in domestic and commercial buildings.
The Hydrogen Solar portfolio also includes various intellectual property rights for the production of hydrogen from biomass waste from industrial food processing.
Seed capital investment and management support was provided by E-Synergy during 2002, and they recruited the Chief Executive, who joined in October that year. An industrial version of the spray pyrolysis coating technology needed for the key component of efficient Tandem Cells has been developed, under a DTI SMART award. The company has since won further awards, including a $1.2m grant over three years from the University of Nevada Las Vegas Research Foundation.
In August 2004, the Hydrogen Solar announced it had more than doubled the performance of its Tandem Cell to just over 8%. The company believes it now has a proven scalable pathway with which to make further improvements and systems engineering work to integrate this into Tandem Cell Arrays is continuing.
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