Monday, 21 September 2009

Dyesol Inc lining up for a wave of new energy investment

Welcome to the Dyesol newsletter. It has been some time since we published a newsletter in this form, providing something of a round up of recent activity. However as our projects and plans come to fruition, and the company grows, I believe that it is important that we maximise opportunities to tell our shareholders, the broader markets and the public about the full range of the activities, about some of the big milestones we are reaching and about some of the small steps taken.

Since the last newsletter there has been a flurry of activity – the 3rd Conference on the Industrialisation of Dye Solar Cells organised by Dyesol was held in Japan, several big announcements have been made and rapid progress has been achieved throughout all of our international joint ventures and partnerships.

In other exciting news, in recognition of the extraordinary development of DSC, its inventor Professor Michael Graetzel, our close scientific collaborator and Chairman of Dyesol's Technology Advisory Board, won the 2009 Balzan prize for work in the ‘Science of New Materials’ in Italy.


Dyesol Inc lining up for a wave of new energy investment in the USA

While the world has struggled under the heavy burden and sometimes chaotic fallout from a meltdown in US asset prices, a new energy era has quietly begun in America that created the perfect conditions required for Dyesol to formally incorporate a US subsidiary.

Barack Obama’s Presidency has been dominated by the financial crisis that he inherited, but it is the initiatives he has launched in energy that made it advantageous for Dyesol to establish a permanent presence in the USA.

With a declared target of producing at least 25% of the USA’s enormous electricity production from renewable sources by 2025, the Obama administration have already committed $60 billion to the green jobs and a clean energy economy through the ‘American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’. President Obama has further underwritten the American energy revolution with a promise of $150 billion in research and development funds for new energy technology over the next 10 years.

More than the substantial dollars however, it is the fundamental change in direction by the new President that could release the full entrepreneurial zeal and brilliance of the US economy onto the challenge of climate change, and the need to reduce fossil fuel dependency.

Marc Thomas has recently been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Dyesol’s North American subsidiary and his primary role is to develop strong business case for the future of the venture.

“This first step in entering the dynamic USA market has been carefully considered for some time,” said Sylvia Tulloch, Managing Director of Dyesol Industries. “We will be planning the resourcing and direction of our newest international subsidiary to ensure that Marc Thomas can pursue the opportunities arising from the Obama administration’s initiatives in support of the clean energy technology sector. What is beginning to happen in the USA should open significant opportunities for Dyesol.”


Dyesol investment in capacity leads the world

Commissioning of Dyesol’s materials manufacturing facilities in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, in October 2008 has proven to be timely, despite the financial crisis that has gripped the globe. Demand for DSC materials has experienced strong growth in the period since the facility was commissioned, and the production team have been committed to fill orders from companies and universities working on DSC projects.

Dyesol is one of the world’s only suppliers of the nano-chemistry, premium materials, laboratory and pilot production line systems required for DSC research and manufacturing. Since the new factory opened Dyesol has exported more than 90% of everything produced.

The solar photovoltaic market, forecast to be worth $US30 billion in 2008, is attracting many established industrial companies who want to be part of the market of renewable energy. For many corporations, DSC is seen as a potentially lower risk, and lower cost entry point into renewable energy products and Dyesol, with its portfolio of feedstocks, laboratory and pilot plant equipment, and technical consulting services, is becoming the first point of contact for many new entrants once the decision has been made to investigate third generation photovoltaics as a possible product line.

The recent receipt of an order for $AUD1 million worth of goods and services from a PETRONAS subsidiary is an example of the sort of interest that Dyesol is getting from global corporations. PETRONAS is a leading global oil and gas industry player based in Malaysia that has previously had little involvement in the solar energy sector.

The goods and services ordered from Dyesol comprise just a first step for a company of this scale, but is a step that would only have been taken once significant research and opportunity assessment had been done, including assessment of available suppliers of materials and know-how. Dyesol believes that this order is a huge endorsement of Dyesol’s capacity to support organisations with big plans for their future in renewable energy.

“The dyes and pastes that we produce in our new facilities are being used in research laboratories and the emerging DSC industry around the world,” said Dr Gavin Tulloch, Dyesol Managing Director Global. “Major corporations such as Sony are now developing DSC technology themselves, and are producing fascinating prototypes, and we are just one step away from the commercialisation of such products. The demand for DSC materials will of course grow exponentially once these products are released to the market”.

In addition to increasing its manufacturing capacity in Queanbeyan, Dyesol’s commercial partnerships are also rapidly moving towards commercialisation of DSC product that have the potential, on their own, to create very significant and long term demand for materials.

Dyesol has, over the past 12 months, established a facility in North Wales, United Kingdom to support the Dyesol/Corus collaboration. This project has been awarded a generous assistance package by the Welsh Assembly Government, to accelerate the commercialisation of DSC technology onto steel sheeting. Corus, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, is the world’s fifth largest steel producer.

Dyesol Italia srl is partnering with Italian energy company ERG Renew and with the world’s leading fa├žade company, Permasteelisa to develop and commercialise next generation solar panels for buildings.

These activities that Dyesol is directly supporting are only the tip of the iceberg of the DSC research and commercialisation activity underway around the world and Dyesol’s state of the art manufacturing puts it in a strong position to be the leading global supplier of DSC materials, services and facilities.


Dyesol walks the walk

What would be the point of making renewable energy if the technology that made the energy was manufactured in an environmentally damaging way? The management and staff of Dyesol are serious about this question as they are collectively committed to ‘eco-logical’ action at every level of the enterprise. Dyesol regards returns to shareholders, ecology and social commitment as objectives of equal rank.

Dyesol already has a natural advantage to face the challenge of sustainability because DSC technology has the lowest embodied energy of any solar technology. Embodied energy is the total life cycle energy of a product, including costs of mining and refining of raw materials, energy of facilities and equipment, energy associated with manufacturing, energy associated with our staff and contractors and services, energy of transport, energy for marketing sales and administration, energy for product and facility maintenance, and energy for recycling of our products.

However, Dyesol takes the responsibility a step further and is driving down energy used in manufacturing with a ‘yield improvement’ programme in the manufacturing operations. This aims to ensure that higher quality, better performing materials, are manufactured at higher yields per unit of embodied energy.

In the process of designing and constructing the Company’s manufacturing facilities in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Dyesol management investigated every cost effective measure to reduce the energy and water consumed on the premises.

As well as the expected steps of insulation and air-flow management, the air-conditioning systems use ozone friendly refrigerants, and the minimum outside air quantities required to refresh air quality and provide occupant safety. Electronic control systems provide the ability to regulate individual air conditioning systems to serve after hours operation independently.

Energy efficient T5 lighting with individual switching of local areas and time control operation of lighting has been installed, as well as time controls on under bench hot water units for point-of-use application, and pipe lagging to all supply lines, reduce heat waste in the water system.

Paper, brochures and other marketing materials are recyclable. Staff are required to utilise the paper, glass and plastics recycling bins provided.

Dyesol takes sustainability seriously, it is not just for appearances. The Company also takes its role as a new energy economy leader seriously, and intends to stay in the top ranks of the global indices that track performance of clean energy companies.

Since March 2008 the Company has been included in the Australian CleanTech Index© and Dyesol is in the top 20 out of over 60 companies in this index. In 2008 the Company was included in the “Top 100 Low Carbon Pioneers” of CNBC Europe. And in 2008 Dyesol received a Prime Rating from OEKOM Research, Munich, Germany. Dyesol is very proud about these acknowledgements of our credentials. These achievements encourages us to intensify our efforts to become more strongly ecologically beneficial, not just neutral.


Korea Enters the Organic Photovoltaic Age

The opening of the Dyesol-Timo pilot production plant in Seong Nam, South Korea on 13th July 2009, could be said to be the symbolic beginning of a new era for that extraordinarily industrious country. The opening ceremony, involving Korean officials, politicians and business people, who were joined by the Australian Ambassador to Korea, Mr Sam Gerovich, were imbued with some gravitas, and a sense that something exceptional was occurring.

In just 10 months the Dyesol-Timo JV team constructed and commissioned a world class pilot plant which has the potential to lead South Korea into the forefront of DSC commercialisation. In the course of the project planning, and the development of the facility, Dyesol scientists were also fully engaged in transferring the knowledge needed to successfully operate the facility to the Timo DSC team lead by Professor Moon.

Dr Gavin Tulloch, Managing Director Global, was there on the day to speak for Dyesol, and took the opportunity to remind the guests about the unique virtues of DSC that means that it really cannot be compared to other conventional photovoltaic technologies.

“Dye solar cell technology exists totally independent of all other types of photovoltaics – it emulates part of the photosynthesis process. It builds on millions of years of natural evolution of low energy processes – processes that utilise minimum energy to produce electrons,” Dr Tulloch said.

“Consider how a leaf functions in photosynthesis. It works in all light levels. It does not have to face directly at the sun for photosynthesis to occur. It operates in shade. It has low embodied energy and is very energy efficient. Most importantly,” Dr Tulloch pointed out, “this means that the voltage created in the leaf structure is virtually independent of light level for all orientations – and this is true for DSC also. Our challenge has been to match nature and it has been essential to understand the fine electrochemical balance and to select materials that, when combined, provide exceptional stability and hence very long lifetimes of up to 50 years.”

Having emulated photosynthesis in the lab, the next challenge for Dyesol’s scientists was to create processes that enable the basic building blocks of a dye solar cell to be mass produced. The pilot production line constructed for the Dyesol-Timo joint venture is based on a series of proprietary process, assembly and test equipment developed and commercialised by Dyesol to do just that, mass produce DSC.

The potential for DSC in the South Korean industrial economy cannot be understated. Glass-based DSC products would be very well suited to South Korea, where the solar conditions, dense urban cityscapes and rapid adoption of new technology provides an ideal environment for a number of DSC products.

South Korea is one of the fastest growing solar markets in the world and is forecast to remain so. The Korean Government has established a positive policy platform for clean technology development and recently announced plans to invest an astounding 2% of GDP worth 107 trillion won per annum (US$84.5 billion) in environment-related industries over the coming five years.

Dyesol will continue to actively support the venture, including providing access to the extensive IP holdings of the company, new innovations and developments, and supplying high performance cost competitive DSC materials and equipment.

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