DuPont scientists named 2018 Heroes of Chemistry


Scientists from DuPont Photovoltaic and Advanced Materials (PVAM) were awarded the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Heroes of Chemistry Award for their invention of DuPont™ Solamet® PV17x, the game-changing metallization paste that greatly improved the energy efficiency of solar cells.

Fine silver lines are printed on solar panels and their design leads to the efficient capture of the sun’s energy turning it into electricity. DuPont scientists made advances in lead-tellurite frit chemistry and commercialized it as multigenerational Solamet® metallization pastes creating a step-change in performance with increasingly higher cell efficiency and performance advantages. The majority of the PV industry has adopted tellurite-based silver pastes in essentially all p-type c-Si solar cells. These solar cells account for more than 90 percent of the overall $34 billion annual solar module market.

Heroes of Chemistry is an annual award sponsored by the American Chemical Society that recognizes talented industrial chemical scientists whose work has led to the development of successful commercialized products ingrained with chemistry for the benefit of humankind.

This year the recognition goes to the collaborative effort by a diverse team of DuPont scientists who shared a common vision of advancing solar technology: Kurt Mikeska, Charlie Torardi, Paul VerNooy, Ken Hang, Brian Laughlin and Alan Carroll.

“ACS knows that good business results usually have good science as their foundation. As a result of our scientists’ dedication and commitment, our solar cell manufacturer customers were able to make more efficient cells, use less paste, expand the wafer firing temperature window, and improve adhesion during the panel making process,” said Chuck Xu, global business director, DuPont Photovoltaic and Advanced Materials. “These combined benefits contributed to improved solar cell performance and lower cost of ownership throughout the industry.”

As the world is striving for renewable energy to reach grid parity with fossil fuels, the role of scientists becomes more and more important. “DuPont™ Solamet® technology plays a central role in making solar panels more powerful and more cost-effective. The technology is fostering a fast-growing industry that is creating jobs while enabling sustainable living for humankind,” said Peter Dorhout, ACS president. “This is a strong example of chemistry having a direct, positive impact on society, which is why these inventors are clearly ‘Heroes of Chemistry.’”

The 2018 Heroes of Chemistry awards ceremony will take place Sunday, Aug. 19, in Boston. For more about the Heroes in Chemistry awards visit: