University of Porto awards Michael Grätzel honoris causa

Michael Grätzel. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

Michael Grätzel. Credit: Alain Herzog (EPFL)

Professor Michael Grätzel at EPFL’s School of Basic Sciences has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Porto.

One of the most important researchers in chemistry of our time, Professor Michael Grätzel will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Porto on 20 May 2022. Grätzel has been collaborating regularly with the with the Faculty of Engineering (FEUP) of the University of Porto, working in highly prestigious European research projects and supporting PhD students.

Since 2008, Grätzel has maintained a close collaboration with professor and researcher Adélio Mendes with the Department of Chemical Engineering at FEUP. Together, they co-authored the first patent for laser-assisted glass sealing of dye-sensitized solar cells (“Grätzel cells”), a pioneering technology that was sold for €5 million to the Australian sustainable energy company Dyesol (now GreatCell Solar).

About Professor Michael Grätzel

Professor Grätzel is world-renowned for inventing the first dye-sensitive solar cell in 1991 with chemist Brian O’Reagan. Just as plants use chlorophyll to turn sunlight into energy, the “Grätzel cells” use industrial dyes, pigments or quantum dots stimulated by sunlight to transmit an electrical charge. Within fifteen years of the original invention, Grätzel evolved the cells into an applied technology that is now being developed in universities and companies worldwide.

Having discovered molecular photovoltaics, Grätzel’s research has focused on designing mesoscopic photosystems based on molecular light harvesters that convert light very efficiently to electricity. He is credited with moving the photovoltaic field beyond the principle of light absorption via diodes to the molecular level. Recently his research engendered a second revolution in photovoltaics prompting the advent of perovskite solar cells. In just a single decade, their power-conversion efficiency increased from 3% to over 25%, rivaling and even exceeding the performance of conventional photovoltaics.

Grätzel also applied his innovative mesoscopic design concept to enhance the power of lithium-ion batteries and to create photoelectrochemical cells that efficiently generate chemical fuels from sunlight, opening up a new path to provide future sources of renewable energy that can be stored.

Grätzel currently directs EPFL’s Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces within the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering (ISIC). His 1,650 publications have received over 400,000 citations and have an h-index of 282. In 2019, Stanford University ranked Grätzel first of 100,000 top scientists across all fields.

Read more about Professor Michael Grätzel

Interview with Professor Grätzel at a national TV channel

Video of the ceremony

News at UPorto website