Cleantech might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But the city will actually be the home of two recently launched startups that have been funded by Wake Forest University and Connecticut-based incubator NanoHoldings.
The two companies are nanotech solar cell startup FiberCell and nanotech lighting startup PlexiLight. Both companies’ technologies were developed by scientists at Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. FiberCell’s technology was also done in conjunction with New Mexico State University.
The Wake Forest University lab that led to the creation of the companies is directed by associate physics professor David Carroll. The release says that Carroll’s lab had a breakthrough in plastic solar cell efficiency earlier this year, where they were able to “convert 6 percent of incoming visible light to electricity by using “nano-filaments” similar to the veins in tree leaves.” The plan is to get the efficiency rate high enough so that plastic solar cells will be competitive with more traditional silicon and new non-silicon systems. FiberCell will be commercializing this technology.
PlexiLight, the other startup launched out of Carroll’s lab, plans to develop a lightweight, ultra-thin and energy efficient lighting source using nanotechnology to produce visible light. In the release, Carroll describes it as “a sheet of plexiglass that lights up.”
A partner of NanoHoldings, Daryl Boudreaux, will be the president of both startups, and both companies plan on leasing space at Winston-Salem’s Piedmont Triad Research Park.