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KTH-student won prestigious environmental competition

Published May 09, 2011

5000 pounds and extremely close scrutiny. When the KTH-student Hjalmar Nilsonne recently won first prize in the competition Cleantech Challenge 2011 the review of his business plan was just as important as the prize money.

“The level of many of the contributions to the Cleantech Challenge this year was very high, we met extremely tough opposition from the 50 teams competing in the contest,” said Hjalmar Nilsonne, who studies Industrial Engineering and Management with a focus on energy systems at KTH.

He took home the victory in this year’s edition of Cleantech Challenge, together with the student Rasmus Davidsen from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

The competition aims to encourage engineers to collaborate more with the outside world and think more business oriented when it comes to environmental technology. Each participating team consists of a minimum of two people, one an aspiring engineer in technological innovation, and another aspiring engineer with skills in economics. Many teams, however, consisted of four people.

“We met in Abu Dhabi at a conference aimed at promoting the initiative Young Future Energy Leaders. Rasmus Davidsen was the technologist in our team, I was the person with business skills,” says Hjalmar Nilsonne.

The innovation that Hjalmar Nilsonne and Ramus Davidsen presented with was a technique used to make conventional solar cells more efficient.

“Ramus Davidsen’s idea is to add a nano-structure to the solar cells so that they absorb more solar energy. This reduces the energy loss due to reflection. Each solar cell can therefore generate more energy,” says Hjalmar Nilsonne.

He adds that the method to reduce the problem of reflections costs as much as today’s conventional anti-reflective treatments, but is much better.

“So far we have only worked with our solar cells in the laboratory, but the outlook for the future is bright,” says Hjalmar Nilsonne.

He is naturally happy about the prize money of 5000 pounds, but says that the feedback on the business idea from Cleantech Challenge is just as important.

“We received extremely high-quality feedback from experts within the field of environmental technology. Business coaches and business developers from the Environmental Technologies Fund and Clean World Capital, which among other things help companies who invest in this type of technology, conducted a very tough assessment of our contribution. It was very rewarding,” says Hjalmar Nilsonne.

For more information, contact Hjalmar Nilsonne on 070-415 63 62.

Peter Larsson