North-West University
Overview of innovation

The North-West University (NWU) has pioneered the novel use of Europium-Tellurium-Oxide (ETO) in the production of clean energy. ETO is a light-chargeable catalyst material that exhibits sustained and enhanced activity after light excitation has ended. Its unique characteristics present an opportunity for utilisation as a new and efficient type of active material in photovoltaic (PV) cells for the conversion and storage of solar energy. ETO has further applications as a catalyst in the chemical reaction for producing hydrogen, and in fuel cells for generating electricity.

Technology Benefits;

  • Environmentally friendly material for clean energy solutions.
  • Unlike other materials of comparable use, ETO retains activity after light excitation.
  • Enhanced activity for more efficient solar energy conversion and storage.
  • Potential applications in the electronics industry.

Market Opportunity
The world's use of photovoltaics for energy supply is growing rapidly. The global PV market size is expected to reach USD 333.72 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.1%. The PV installations in the world grew by 36.8% CAGR between 2010 and 2018. Si-wafer-based PV technology accounted for about 95% of the total production in 2017. There is an opportunity for introducing Europium-Tellurium-Oxide-based solar cells, driven by a better value proposition. The global hydrogen fuel cell market is forecast to reach USD 49.12 billion by 2026.

Type of Intellectual Property protection
Innovation Opportunity Type
​Mining and quarrying
Natural Resources
​Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
Green Energy
Clean Technologies
Technology Readiness Level
TRL 4 – Experimental prototype developed
Brochures, business plans, prospectus or other documents
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