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Home > News > Tech investor Batterson reaches for the sun with Argonne's solar paint

May 5th, 2010

Tech investor Batterson reaches for the sun with Argonne's solar paint

Abstract:
Using molecular-level manufacturing technology being developed at Argonne National Laboratory, Mr. Batterson's NextGen Solar aims to do nothing less than dominate the burgeoning solar power business by making electricity from the sun as cheap as coal power easily a multibillion-dollar market. He's also planning a $1-billion investment firm that would operate entirely online, making it economical to focus on high-risk, early-stage startups like NextGen, which most venture capital firms won't touch.

So far he's raised about half of the $1 million he plans to use to seed the company and move the technology from Argonne's lab to the commercial world, where it will face considerable challenges.

While the solar business is booming around the world, it's driven largely by government subsidies and mandates. Solar power is both expensive and inefficient; most of the cheaper, thin-film photovoltaic materials in use convert, at most, 14% of sunlight to electricity.

NextGen is aiming for at least 25%, and possibly as much as 40%, efficiency at a third of the cost.

If the technology works, "it has a good chance at being the largest venture-capital deal ever done," Mr. Batterson says. "It would put Chicago venture capital right on the map."

Source:
chicagobusiness.com

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