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Press reports: Green Car Congress

Aisin Seiki and Toyota Developing Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells for Cars and Homes

16 May 2006

Aisin Seiki, perhaps better known as a transmission manufacturer, has worked with
Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. to develop dye-sensitized solar cells (DSC)?photoelectro-
chemical cells also known as Graetzel cells.

Because dye-sensitized solar cells are made of low-cost material and do not require an
elaborate apparatus for manufacture, they are around 60% cheaper to make than
conventional silicon-based products.

In addition to being less costly, DSCs can generate electricity in even weak light. Moreover,
since the solar cells can be adjusted in terms of both transparency and color, they can be
designed for attachment to windows in cars and homes, or given a mirror-like reflective
surface as well as patterned with marbling.

Toyota and Aisin Seiki earlier developed two prototype of DSC modules to meet different
artistic and architectural designs, which the companies displayed during the Aichi
EXPO 2005.

Aisin Seiki reportedly is now evaluating the durability and heat characteristics of the
solar cell with the goal of having a practical version ready in four to five years for
applications in cars and homes, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Honda Motor is also entering the market for solar cells designed for use in households
and vehicles. The company is building a ¥10-billion (US$86.5-million) factory to begin
mass production in fiscal 2007 of solar cells made an inexpensive thin-membrane
non-silicon metal compound developed by Honda engineering.

The Honda solar panels, first announced in 2002, feature a light-absorbing layer formed
by a compound made of copper, indium, gallium and diselenium (CIGS). Other companies
working with CIGS cells include Shell Solar and Würth.

Posted by Kuppuswamy Kalyanasundaram on Friday 8 September 2006 at 10:48