Manchester Metropolitan University

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New generation of solar panels

MMU helps hi-tech firm

MMU has confirmed it is working with a UK technology firm on the development of a new generation of solar ‘panels’.

Cheshire-based ATMOS is developing technology that could be up to 10 times cheaper to produce than traditional photo-voltaic cells.

The idea is to deposit semi-conducting coatings onto common materials such as concrete or roof slate, heralding the prospect of massive savings in hardware.

ATMOS has licensed the emergent technology to Teckhne, part of Universal Master products, which is working with MMU and King’s College London to develop a workable commercial product.

Solar farms

Techkne expects that the technology will be used to create large-scale solar farms, rather than for micro-generations by individuals.

"If space isn’t a problem but cost is, then this technology is perfect," the firm said in a statement.

Professor Peter Kelly, head of the Surface Engineering Group at MMU’s Dalton Research Institute said: "This is a great idea and we are delighted to be invited to lend our expertise.

"Our role is to understand and refine the materials and develop the optimum blend in order for the technology to be simple, effective and environmentally clean."

The project is backed with a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Helping businesses grow

Ian Jamieson, the university’s Director of Enterprise, said: "The work of MMU's Surface Engineering Group with ATMOS is an example of how the near-market research and close industrial collaborative relations can benefit real-world business growth.

"The contribution of applied research from a top-class University such as MMU to the recovery of UK plc in the coming years can not be under-estimated and this case is a perfect example of how MMU is directly supporting the development of the UK's next generation of leading edge technology companies."

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