Japanese SMEs Making Innovations In Power Technology

It’s been over 200 years since Italian Alessandro Volta invented the battery, but his invention is still evolving as an integral part of human life. We use batteries to power phones, computers, cars and even planes, but batteries are still evolving as a power source. The ultimate aim is to produce a power source that is cheap, lightweight, safe and environmentally friendly, and a number of Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have made breakthroughs in power-related technology. More Info

Being based in northeastern Japan, the environment is something Material Concept CEO Koike Miho is concerned about. “This area was greatly affected by the 2011 earthquake,” she notes. “We really wanted to make a contribution to the area and believed our renewable energy research and technology would help the reconstruction efforts.” Material Concept, which works closely with Tohoku University, specializes in researching applications for copper paste – for example, as electrodes in solar panels, semiconductors, sensors and LED displays. “We were the first to come up with a product equal to silver paste in terms of conversion efficiency in solar cells,” says Koike, who notes that copper paste can be up to 10 times cheaper than silver paste, depending on the application, and doesn’t include lead. “It was our intention to never use materials that weren’t friendly to the environment.”

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