Finland Honours Inventor of Cut-Price Solar Cells

Michael Gratzel, the inventor of a technology to produce cheap solar power cells, has been honoured with the Millennium Technology award.

The BBC reports that Graetzel, director of the laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at the Lausanne Federal Technology Institute, received $1million (€800,000) in prize money at the event in Helsinki on on Wednesday.

The scientist created nanotechnology-based solar cells using a dye made from berries.

Named after himself, Gratzel cells are capable of generating power from sunlight, following a process similar to photosynthesis. The Gratzel cells can be used to power such devices such as street lights.

The Millennium Technology Award is given to researchers who develop technologies to better human life.

The award is presented by the government of Finland and the Technology Academy of Finland, based in Helsinki.

An elated Gratzel said he was always fascinated by the way in which plants make their own energy, and that natural photosynthesis was the sole inspiration behind his solar cells.

He also stated that he will use the award money to further his search for the benefit of science.