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Umicore, STACE, and Université de Sherbrooke Earn Recognition at the 2023 ADRIQ Innovation Awards Gala

Electro-Optic Materials

Olen, Belgium 2023 - On November 23rd, the Association for the Development of Research and Innovation of Quebec (ADRIQ) unveiled the 2023 Innovation Awards at the Palais des congrès de Montréal during the 33rd Innovation Awards Gala. From a pool of more than 102 applications, a standout emerged—the collaborative endeavor of Umicore, Saint-Augustin Canada Electric (STACE), and the Université de Sherbrooke - 3IT research team. Their joint effort, the PEELER project, focused on "Reducing the cost of solar panel components through the use of innovative materials," earned them the prestigious INNOVÉÉ award in the Regroupements sectoriels de recherche industrielle (RSRI) category. 

The INNOVÉÉ award applauds outstanding collaborative innovation projects that yield new products, processes, or technologies. In the case of the PEELER project, the goal is to develop a process that significantly reduces the high costs associated with substrates for high-efficiency solar cells, utilizing innovative nanomaterials. This groundbreaking process, globally recognized, not only emphasizes environmental sustainability and energy efficiency but also introduces the reuse of Germanium substrates. The intelligent substrate reuse and recycling process contributes to global sustainability goals and opens avenues for highly efficient, scalable, light weight, and cost-effective solar cells. 

Kristof Dessein, Innovation Director at Umicore, expressed profound honor for the awards, stating, “The award acknowledges the success of the PEELER project in advancing high-efficiency solar cells, a success further solidified by our recent establishment of a long-term, sustainable collaboration with the Université de Sherbrooke. The inauguration of the Umicore Research Chair in Semiconductor Nanomembranes and Flexible Optoelectronics represents a significant milestone in our collaborative journey.” This chair is co-directed by Abderraouf Boucherif and Richard Arès, both professors at the Faculty of Engineering and members of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Technological Innovation (3IT).  

Jinyoun Cho, Product & Process Development Manager at Umicore, further emphasized, “We firmly believe that the remarkable advancements made in the PEELER project have created a new era of opportunities within the solar cells and optoelectronic market. This pioneering, reusable substrate approach not only significantly reduces material consumption compared to traditional wafering methods but also effectively alleviates concerns related to Ge metal scarcity.” 

In conclusion, the PEELER project, with its global recognition and transformative innovations, marks a milestone in sustainable technology, propelling the solar cells and optoelectronic market into a future of efficiency, scalability, and environmental responsibility.