Kardinia Energy: ‘Printing’ a sustainable source of energy generation
Kardinia Energy envisions a world where low-cost energy is accessible to all. That vision started with a journey that goes as far back as 25 years ago when a young Physics lecturer, Paul Dastoor, came to Australia with a firm determination to work on research that could make a difference to the world.
Twenty-five years and many stories later, Prof Dastoor and his team are now engaged in the development of every aspect of Printed Solar technology – from the fundamental science all the way to the installation of large-scale demonstrations.
Currently, Paul Dastoor is Professor of Physics at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He’s also Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Kardinia Energy, a manufacturer of world-leading Organic Photovoltaic Printed Solar technology. In this fascinating interview, he talks about his passion for sustainable future, the technology that can address the world’s low-cost energy needs and the hows and whys of Printed Solar.
Pls talk to us about Organic photovoltaics (“Printed Solar”) in the context of climate change. How big of an impact will this make?
Professor Paul Dastoor: Printed Solar is our solution for generating energy. It has major advantages: it is low cost, highly flexible, lightweight, 100% recyclable and works off-grid.
We believe we will address the definition of energy usage within a circular economy.
We already have two proven commercial-scale Printed Solar pilot installations and are more advanced than most of our perceived competition within the ‘third generation’ of solar energy development. We will leverage our existing printing technology and processes to produce printed sheets (‘Printed Solar’).
Approximately 770 million of the world’s inhabitants (10%) do not have access to electricity, and 3 billion people (40%) do not have access to clean fuels for cooking. We believe our technology, with its economic viability and scalability, is perfectly positioned to make a significant social impact on a global scale to help address this fundamental human need, access to energy.
We plan to begin commercial production in 2023 and our initial target market will be industrial, warehouse and commercial roofs in Australia. From there, we will continually expand into new geographies and applications.
We will change the paradigm of energy generation.
What are the immediate and long-term benefits that can be accrued by using the Printed Solar technology?
Professor Paul Dastoor: Immediate global market opportunities exist for the installation of Printed Solar, particularly on low weight bearing structures such as the vast majority of industrial and warehouse roofs. Further applications have been identified in remote communities, mining, agricultural, and industrial operations that are off-grid or rely on higher-cost energy sources. In the longer-term, there is near limitless application.
Kardinia Energy’s Printed Solar will not compete directly with traditional silicon solar panels (PV) – this is not our target market. However, Printed Solar delivers a compelling alternative to PV in terms of weight, cost and recycling as it has been developed using organic photovoltaic materials (OPVM). Printed Solar weighs only 2% of existing PV technology.
Client site analysis conducted with a large listed industrial manufacturer in Australia comparing Printed Solar to grid energy and silicon solar panels confirms Printed Solar reduces annual electricity costs, has 50% advantage over the installed cost of silicon solar panels, quicker payback period on invested capital, 45% IRR, reduces carbon emissions and is the only energy solution for large scale installation on vacant low weight bearing industrial roofs.
"Printed Solar delivers a compelling alternative to PV in terms of weight, cost and recycling as it has been developed using organic photovoltaic materials (OPVM). Printed Solar weighs only 2% of existing PV technology."
Therefore, Printed Solar can be used where heavier PV panels cannot be installed, such as on industrial, warehouse and commercial (IWC) roofs. Market research conducted with property owners and industry stakeholders indicate 70% of IWC roofs are low weight bearing, unable to support traditional silicon PV solar panels without structural modifications. The stock of Australian IWC property with roof size in excess of 5,000m2 is 69.8 million m². In addition, more than 1.6million m² of new IWC stock is added every year driven by transition to on-line shopping. This is an immediate target market where there is no other option.
In addition, Printed Solar also has the proven ability to generate power at an equivalent cost to PV (in cents per kilowatt hour); however, when manufactured at scale, it will cost less than $7 per m² to produce.
We have adopted a business model in which we will progressively deliver the rapid advances in our technology to the market. We will thereby grow our market share and at the same time retain our existing clients by upgrading their Printed Solar as each generation (and performance enhancement) is released. Our business model represents a new green energy paradigm. And by using Printed Solar, our clients will avoid incurring the capital redundancy and disposal costs inherent in relatively high cost, long-life silicon PV.
Lastly, Printed Solar will change the paradigm of energy generation globally at a time of unprecedented demand for low-cost and sustainable energy. We are delighted to share the opportunity to invest in Kardinia Energy and build a shareholder base that will complement the company and our obligation; to deliver low-cost energy that is accessible to all.
"Printed Solar will change the paradigm of energy generation globally at a time of unprecedented demand for low-cost and sustainable energy."
Currently, what are the key challenges in scaling your solution globally and how do you plan to address these?
Professor Paul Dastoor: We know how to scale the technology. This was key in the philosophy of the technology development. We now need to engage with the global community to understand how best to apply the technology on a global scale, whether that be through subsidiaries, joint ventures or exclusive licenses.
In the next 10 years, how do you see Kardinia Energy contributing in the climate change fight?
Professor Paul Dastoor: We envisage a world where Printed Solar is managed by communities, for the community. A world in which Printed Solar provides sustainable energy that enables access to clean water in communities where there is limited or no other option.
We believe everyone on our planet should have access to energy that is economically viable and provided in an entirely sustainable way, whilst also providing training and creating jobs to the local community to enable them to manage their own energy generation, manufacturing and ultimately recycling of Printed Solar.
The application and scalability of Printed Solar is limitless.
Professor P.C. Dastoor, Professor of Physics, University of Newcastle, will be speaking at the upcoming Impact X Summit Sydney 2021: Climate growth and accelerating pathways to zero emissions. To register to attend the conference, click here.
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