- Ambient Photonics has secured $17.5 million financing from Silicon Valley Bank and Trinity Capital
- It plans to use proceeds to work towards its low light solar cell production facility which it says will be the world’s largest
- The company targets smart homes and IoT for its energy harvesting embedded solar DSSC cells for which it uses proprietary technology
Low light energy harvesting solar PV cells producer Ambient Photonics in the US has raised $17.5 million financing to build what it terms the world’s ‘largest’ low light solar cell production facility, scaling such cells to the mass internet of things (IoT) and smart homes market.
It has raised the proceeds from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Trinity Capital. This initial financing adds to $31 million it raised via Series A financing round in May 2022 which was led by Amazon through its Climate Pledge Fund and Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) along with Future Shape and I Squared Capital.
Together this $48.5 million of equity and debt funding will enable the company to move ahead with its manufacturing plans.
“By putting debt capital to work from leading lenders like SVB and Trinity Capital, along with the equity capital already raised this round, we will establish the US as a major center of energy harvesting technology manufacturing,” said Ambient CEO Bates Marshall.
Ambient claims its low light solar PV cells embedded in various devices deliver ‘groundbreaking’ power density from a broader spectrum of ambient light, doing away with the need to use, replace or recharge batteries that end up going in the landfill at the end of their working life. This will help bring down the CO2 footprint of battery-powered devices by up to 80%.
A spin off from the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, Ambient uses single cell architecture and its proprietary dye chemistry for dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) technology that doesn’t use any metal. The electromechanical system of the cells harnesses indoor and outdoor ambient light to create an ‘endless’ power source.
The company claims its cells generate as much as 3 times more power than amorphous silicon cells, and are competitive with gallium arsenide but inexpensive.
It claims to have developed ‘over 40 novel, organic sensitizer molecules used to create groundbreaking proprietary dyes tuned for low light conditions which absorb light across the entire visible electromagnetic spectrum for the highest possible efficiencies’.
The versatility of solar PV technology via DSSC technology has been explored by several companies elsewhere in the world as well. But this organic solar cell technology, which was invented over 30 years ago by Prof. Michael Graetzel, has not met expectations regarding commercialization; many challenges still need to be overcome, as shown by Sharma et al. in a review article on DSSC: Fundamentals & Current Status in 2018. However, in February 2022, Japan’s Ricoh presented the world’s ‘1st’ solid-state DSSC modules with ability to generate electricity from indoor light (see Japanese Company Launches Solar Cells For Indoors).