France-ALSHARQIYA June 14: Electronic devices spread in our lives, facilitating daily tasks for many people, but this has a cost. The United Nations expects that the amount of electronic waste worldwide will reach 52.2 million metric tons this year, and a large part of it is empty batteries .
That's why Dracula Technologies, a French start-up, is seeking help with OPV's inkjet-printed organic photovoltaic technology called LAYER.
On the inside, Dracula Technologies' photovoltaic modules absorb energy from light from either natural surroundings such as the sun or artificial ones such as lamps, and can be used to power indoor low-energy devices.
And because they're printed and not made of silicone, the shape of the units is more customizable, and unlike many batteries, they don't use rare earth elements or heavy metals. Instead, the units are constructed from carbon material.
In addition to being better for the environment, the Layer is also more economical, as the company claims it can reduce the total cost of the price by 4 times compared to batteries.
Dracula Technologies is currently working with electronics manufacturers, including a partnership with Japanese semiconductor company Renesas Electronics and AND Technology Research to create a self-powered, batteryless IoT device that can send messages to an app mobile.
Dracula Technologies was founded in 2011 following a project in collaboration with CEA (French Commission for Alternative and Atomic Energy), a public research organisation.
The company's CEO, Brice Cruchon, outlined the technology's commercial potential, and after 6 years of research and development, Layer was launched through the Hello Tomorrow program for deep tech startups.
To date, Dracula Technologies has raised a total of €4.4 million (about $5.4 million), including a €2 million round in 2016 from investors and €2.4 million raised last year to ramp up production of its pre-industrial PV modules. The company plans to move to commercial manufacturing in 2024 with the goal of producing millions of units annually.