Many excellent candidates have been nominated for SwedNanoTechs annual award Årets Nanoföretag (Swedish Nanotechnology Company of the Year). Five companies have been selected from the candidates to give company presentations on stage during the nanotechnology conference Nanoforum 2014, May 15th in Stockholm.
Here you can read an interview about the nominated company Sol Voltaics with their Director for Business Development, Erik Olsson.
Why should Sol Voltaics be Swedish Nanotechnology Company of the Year, 2014?
- Last year was a successful year for us. We published results showing that our basic technology is very good. We proved that we are technically capable of producing large volumes of nanowires at a very low cost and we showed that our nanowires are effective for using in solar cells.
This year we have moved to new facilities in Lund and started the construction of our pilot production plant that will be producing nanowires at the end of this year. We will be among the first in the world to produce nanowires on a large industrial scale.
Last year we were pretty much the only solar cell company in the world that were able to attract capital in a pre-commercial phase.
What is your business idea?
- The solar cell industry constantly strives to increase the efficiency of solar panels. There are materials that are better able to capture energy from the sun than those used in conventional solar panels today, but they are expensive and therefore have previously only been used in niche applications.
Our technology makes it possible to use very small amounts of the superior materials while retaining much of their functionality. We have also developed a method to produce the materials in the form of nanowires on a large industrial scale at a low cost.
In what areas are your customers?
- Our customers are found in the solar cell industry, primarily the major solar cell manufacturers. Most of them are located in China, about 70% of all solar panels manufactured there today, but customers are also in Japan, Korea, Malaysia and USA. Next year we will send materials to our customers for beta testing, and in 2016 we expect to be up and running with sale.
How many employees do you have?
- We have about 30 full-time employees, divided into several people. Our team includes both researchers and students, who often work with us part-time.
We have grown rapidly, two years ago we were about ten people and last year we were 20. We recruit from all over the world; the latest additions are from San Diego, Switzerland and Silicon Valley. It’s amazing that they believe so much in our company and our technology that they leave their careers and move to Lund.
How long have Sol Voltaics existed?
- The company was founded in 2008. During a development period we refined our concept and market models. In 2012 we decided to go further and scale up operations.
Most of our funding comes from private investors. We have good and long-term owners such as FAM (a holding company within the Wallenberg Foundation), the Swedish investor Industrifonden and the Norwegian investment company UMOE. We have also received a conditional loan from the Swedish Energy Agency for developing our pilot plant.
About the award Årets nanoföretag 2014
During the conference NanoForum 2014 we will announce which company have been selected Årets nanoföretag 2014 (Swedish Nanotechnology Company of the Year 2014). The purpose of the award is to recognize a young, responsible, Swedish company with a clear nanotechnology profile.
About NanoForum 2014
NanoForum is the annual nanotechnology conference organized by the Swedish umbrella organization SwedNanoTech.
This year the conference is held May 15th, at IVA's conference center in Stockholm. The purpose of the conference is to highlight relevant nanotechnology topics with presentations from leading expertise.
NanoForum 2014 the fourth edition of the conference and is jointly organized by SwedNanoTech and the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA). The conference is free of charge.
Read more about the conference, the speakers and the exhibiting companies on the conference webpage.
SwedNanoTech är en förening som har bildats för att skapa en tydlig profil för svensk nanoteknologi i Sverige och utlandet och etablera ett gott samarbete mellan forskare, entreprenörer och samhället i övrigt. Vi har ca 120 medlemmar, både studenter, företag och enskilda forskare.