Itochu uses artificial crystal to make colorless transparent solar cells

June 17, 2020

Itochu uses artificial crystals to make colorless transparent solar cells

ITOCHU Corporation announced on April 4, 2016 that it will invest in inQs (Minato-ku, Tokyo), a startup that manufactures solar cells using artificial crystals. ITOCHU Corporation and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Bank will accept third-party distribution of capital increase.

Through this investment, ITOCHU Corporation will become the second largest shareholder of inQs, second only to inQs's parent company, the Japan International Institute for Advanced Technology (Minato-ku, Tokyo).

InQs uses artificial crystal (SiO2) to form solar cells, and the world’s first to develop and produce two types of solar cells, colorless, transparent and extremely low power.

The appearance of a colorless and transparent solar cell is like glass. Therefore, it can be used as a window that can be used to generate electricity from sunlight to replace glass windows in buildings, factories, and houses. In addition to windows, walls and ceilings for facilities and homes that target energy self-sufficiency, inQs is also considering automotive applications.

The extremely low-illumination power generation solar cell can also generate electricity in a dimly lit room, and in the future, it can be used without charging an external power source or a battery. inQs indicates that it is negotiating with a number of large companies for related businesses.

In addition to products such as smart phones and remote controls, it is also expected to be applied to wireless sensor terminals that form sensor networks. Installing the solar cell for the sensor terminal can be used as a stand-alone terminal that does not require an external power supply.

inQs won the Japan Venture Award for Technology Innovation Special Award in February 2016. The Japan Venture Award is a commendation system for Japanese emerging companies developed by the Japanese SME Basic Maintenance Agency. In the future, ITOCHU will not only participate in sales of inQs products in Japan and abroad, but will also participate in the formulation and implementation of the overall strategy. (Special Contributor: Kato Shinichi, Nikkei BP Institute of Clean Technology)

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