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Nanopac sees transforming industry with new solar cells

PUCHONG: The wide potential in harvesting one of Malaysia's best resources could be realised when Nanopac (M) Sdn Bhd commercialises its third generation solar cells that promise to revolutionise the photovoltaics industry.

However, in order to do that, the company has to seek Malaysian investors to enable plans of moving its South Korean research base to the Klang Valley.

 

At the omen, the Malaysian pioneering nano tech company is "in discussion with some interested parties" but is still open to other potential partners.

Nanopac is looking at relocation of its headquarters from South Korea, inclusive of setting up a research facility and moving its six-member research team to reside her for five years, to continue developing photovoltaic products.

The whole exercise is estimated to cost RM100mil.

Chief Executive officer and co-founder Datuk Dr Cheng Kok Leong said Nanopac was actively looking for Malaysian partners as he believed it would make more strategic business sense in the long term.

"It will be a Malaysian business with South Korean technology," he said.

The company has created the third generation solar cell which, unlike the first and second generation solar panels which need to be fitted on rooftops, comes in the form of glass panels suitable to be used as windows. Its technology also allows it to generate electricity under cloudy weather or artificial light.

The third generation solar cell is said to have the same capacity as its predecessors.

"We would not need 40 acres of land to put the solar panels, all I need are the buildings in Kuala Lumpur city. We can turn the whole city into a big generator," he said, adding this would be more cost-effective than solar farms as there wouldn't be land costs involved.

He illustrated that if Petronas Twin Towers used the third generation panels on one of its towers, it would be able to generate 46.8MW of electricity compared with 892KW per day from second generation panels that can only be fitted on strategic areas of the tower.

Currently, the product is only used in certain Korean research institutes and has not been commercialised yet although it has been patented in the US, China and South Korea.

"There is a lot of room for growth in this market as solar only makes up a fraction of the 0.7% of renewable energy sources. The global market for this product is estimated at US$10bil with 70% of its growth coming from Asia," he said, citing information from REN21 Renewable Energy Policy Network.

Nanopac hopes to beat other countries like Japan in commercialising the third generation solar cells in the Asia-Pacific market.

"We have a headstart now but Japan will catch up with our technology very soon," he said. "We should not let them to overtake and leave us with whatever left of the US$10bil market share."

Cheng said that his could add competitive advantage to Proton's electric vehicles (EV) as well.

"To date, EVs need to be charged at charging stations while parked under the hot sun," he said.

Cheng added that Proton would no longer need to seek out new technology to make its EVs more marketable as the suitable technology was already here.

StarBiz - Nanopac transforming industry with new solar cells