“This technology is outstanding. I am sure someone will someday put this to practical use." This was my first impression when I first heard about perovskite solar cells (PSCs) and the concept of commercialization from my college classmate and close friend, Atsushi Wakamiya. "If someone can make it practical, I might be able to play a part in it. I’ve got to get involved." At that moment I had that thought was the origin of Enecoat Technologies.
In November 2016, Kyoto University had been referred to as a "startup wasteland." The college had recently established the Kyoto University Incubation Program (IPG), however, a system to subsidize R&D projects for future commercialization. It was part of a large-scale startup support system backed up by the public-private innovation program budget. Prof. Wakamiya and I were fortunate to be selected as the initial project to participate in the IPG's first publicly open session. From there on we continued with research and development on the practical application of PSCs. In January of 2018, we started Enecoat Technologies and sought investment from Kyoto University’s Innovation Capital, Kyoto University's own venture capital firm. Full-fledged operations began in January 2019.
Enecoat Technologies has three corporate missions:
1. Commercialize Kyoto University intellectual property.
2. Develop PSCs for portable solar power supplies and IoT devices.
3. Contribute to making PSCs a significant source of renewable energy.
Thanks to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO)’s Green Innovation Fund Project established by the Ministry of Economy and the support of numerous investors; Enecoat Technologies has taken its first steps to advance from the research and development stage to production and sales. Our business development continues to accelerate rapidly as we do our utmost to work towards the practical application of PSCs while keeping in mind our motto: "Building the Future from Perovskite Solar Cells."
Co-founder & CEO, Enecoat Technologies Naoya Kato
Efforts to work towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve a carbon neutral society are gaining momentum across the world.
“As a researcher, I wanted to work on research that would contribute to humanity and society as a whole." With this thought in mind I began working on research of the development of the next generation of solar cells in 2010 as part of a pioneering research project through the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) where I first came across perovskite solar cells. Based on the material chemistry we had developed through research, we were one of the first in Japan to take on this R&D challenge and in 2014 we succeeded in developing a precursor material that was key to achieving high performance. Using advanced spectroscopy, we were able to clarify the unique physical properties of the material and its power generation mechanism that exhibited high photoelectric conversion properties. In 2016, we achieved a photoelectric conversion efficiency of 20% for the first time in Japan; thanks to the development of a thin film coating method using high-quality materials. In 2021, we achieved the world's highest efficiency of 23.6% using low-lead and tin materials.
Our research to date has successfully uncovered the properties of perovskite solar cells. This new type of solar cell is a film-type solar cell that can be painted with printing technology. It is lightweight, flexible, and shows high power generation efficiency under a variety of conditions, including both indoor and outdoor use. “We want to change the way society and the world views energy in the future by introducing this amazing solar cell everywhere, "Supplying power, no matter the place!" It is with this strong desire that we had established Enecoat Technologies Inc. (Enecoat) in January of 2018.
Up to now Kyoto University has received support from JST COI, Advanced Low Carbon Technology R&D Program (ALCA), NEDO and other national programs. At EneCoat specifically, we have received significant support from NEDO, the Kyoto University Incubation Program, Kyoto iCAP and other sources of private venture capital funding to carry out and work together on our research and development. In FY2021, the project was selected for NEDO’s Green Innovation Fund and commercialization led by Enecoat has finally begun in full swing.
Issues still remain to be solved for the practical application of this solar cell, including establishment of mass production technology and the realization of performance and reliability that meet market demands. We continue to work closely with academic and research institutions as well as various companies including material producers, manufacturing equipment makers, and social management groups to tackle and overcome challenges that can be difficult for venture companies to overcome alone. With your support, we can fully realize the societal implementation of perovskite solar cells.
Co-Founder & Directing CSO, Enecoat Technologies
Professor, Institute for Chemical Research, Kyoto University Atsushi Wakamiya