Laureates 2007

2007 Future - Quest for Energy

Sarah Kurtz & Jerry Olson

olson_kurtzOver the past two decades Sarah R. Kurtz and Jerry M. Olson have made exceptional and profound contributions to the field of photovoltaic energy. Both are Principal Scientists, III-V Materials and Devices Group, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado in the USA.

These contributions have the potential to alleviate the world's impending energy crisis. Their key contribution has been the development of the GaInP/GaAs multi-junction solar cell, which has demonstrated much higher solar energy conversion efficiency (now 39%), twice that of most silicon cells (usually 15-21%).

This technology also reduces by a large factor the area needed for collection and is already the choice for most space applications; for example, this technology powers the highly successful Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. This multi-junction concentrator technology has the potential to reduce the cost of solar electricity by about a factor of two, in part because large arrays of concentrating mirrors are much less expensive than an equal area of solar cells. Their achievement is already a success and capable of growing into a major addition to our abilities to harness solar power for electricity.

The 2007 Dan David Prize honors Dr. Sarah Kurtz and Dr. Jerry Olson for their significant contributions in the field of Quest for Energy.