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Event Details

Solar Powered Light Bulbs: Global Access to Clean Energy

April 23 @ 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM - BRK 2001

Engineering Meets Social Entrepreneurship - by Stephen Katsaros, Founder & CEO, Nokero International Ltd.

Recently, Steve Katsaros  (Purdue alumnus) received the Patent for Humanity Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The award is supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is a founder and CEO of Nokero International Ltd. He will describe his patented technology as well as his entrepreneurial experiences. Nokero uses the world’s best solar cells, made by SunPower:

·         Mono-crystalline: Long lasting, highest quality, highest efficiency

·         Greater heat resistance

The Sunpower Maxeon cells are designed with leading edge solar technology:

·         Back contact cells (Dramatically improves efficiency)

·         Better low light performance than other mono-crystalline

·         Better spectral response

·         No light induced degradation

SunPower 125mm-wide single-crystal silicon solar cells are based on a rear-contact design that eliminates front-side metallization, maximizes the working cell area, eliminates redundant wires and makes automated production easier. Forming the junction at the rear of the cell, combined with a clever surface treatment, allows it to trap and convert much more of the available photons into mobile electrons—yielding a jump in efficiency. The cell employs several other tricks to boost efficiency, including an oxide passivation layer on the backside to deny regions for unwanted hole-electron recombination.


Steve Katsaros (BSME - 1996) shares the story of Nokero, a company formed in 2010 with a

mission to bring solar-powered light bulbs to the 1.3 billion people who live without electricity.  By bringing solar lighting to the 20% of humanity without access to power, Nokero’s (short for No Kerosene) work solves more than just the problem of energy poverty.   Those without power collectively burn 77 billion liters of kerosene a year in order to see at night.  Globally, burning of kerosene for light emits 190 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, causes respiratory illness, and increases risk of accidental fire.  Additionally, for those with an income of $2 or less a day, the cost of kerosene to fuel the lamps consumes up to 20% of their wages.  Steve's invention and the hard work of his colleagues have brought real change.  Over 500,000 lights have been sold to people in 120 different countries, no small feat when distributing to the most geographically and economically isolated parts of the world.  This talk is a must see for those interested in social responsibility, international business, and 'doing well by doing good.'


Seminar sponsored by the Energy Center, Discovery Park.

Contact: Pankaj Sharma (



Contact Details

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