Scientist Ernesto Julio Calvo (Argentina) who invented Inquimae - a new way of extracting lithium that is powered by solar energy and is quicker and cleaner than any existing technology - won the first prize in the Bright Minds Challenge.
Today, perovskite crystals - classified 100 years ago after being found in the rocks of the Ural Mountains - are fast making a name for themselves in the world of solar science thanks to many unique properties - from their flexible, crystalline structure to their ability to absorb light.
Tomorrow? Perovskite could be a household name, literally. There’s every chance that solar cells made with perovskite (instead of traditional silicon) could be heating our homes instead of fossil fuels: In the windows, the roof, and even the walls.
How and why did this happen? Olga Malinkiewicz was that student. Today she is the CTO of her own start-up, Saule Technologies. “I first saw a demonstration of the material at a conference in Seville. I could see that it had potential to convert the sun’s energy very efficiently - and I couldn’t believe that device preparation in the case of perovskite solar cells was so simple!” she says. “The attraction was instant. When I returned from the conference I abandoned my previous research into organic solar cells and focused 100% on perovskite.”