PRISED (Photovoltaic Related Industries for Solar Energy Development) is a Canadian corporation conducting research into new technologies designed to improve the cost-competitiveness of solar power, either through efficiencies in production or enhancements in operating effectiveness.

PRISED is currently conducting two major research projects. The first is an investigation into a revolutionary new method of materials refinement, and the second deals with the use of nano-wires to increase the efficiency of thin-film solar cells.

How A Process Can Change The World

In the mid-1800s, Napoleon III, emperor of France, is reputed to have given a banquet at which he wanted to particularly honour certain of his guests. So instead of giving them utensils of solid gold, he instead gave the special guests utensils of pure... aluminum.

When the United States of America completed the Washington Monument in 1884, they wanted to demonstrate the economic and technological power of their country. So, to impress the world, they made the capstone out of ... aluminum.

By today's standards, these decisions are surprising. But in the 1800s, pure aluminum was a precious metal, more expensive than gold or platinum. This was not because aluminum was so rare; aluminum is the third most abundant element on earth, and the earth's most common metal, comprising over 8% of the earth's crust. But in the early 1800s, the process that was used to purify aluminum (the Walker process) was extremely expensive. As a result, even though the metallurgical advantages of aluminum were well known, it was not in common use.

With the development of the Bayer process in 1887, it became possible to produce aluminum at far lower cost. As a result, aluminum is now used in everything from soda cans to airplane fuselages.

The production of ultra pure silicon is today where aluminum was in the 1800s. The base element is very common (in fact, silicon is three times more common than aluminum!) but the cost of purification is so high that pure silicon is not being used to its full potential.

We believe that the PRISED "Shams-Kolahi" process for the refinement of materials can change the way the silicon is used, and therefore change the world, much as the Bayer process did a hundred years ago.


Silicon, essentially sand, is the second-most abundant element on Earth. It has been used for centuries in the manufacture of various forms of glass, cement and ceramics. Since the start of the Computer Age, though, silicon has also been extensively used to make semiconductors, for computer chips and similar electronic devices (such as solar cells).

In order to be useful as a semiconductor, silicon must be refined to a purity of at least 99.999999% (known as "N8"), in factories that cost billions of dollars to build and operate.

The growth of the solar industry created a new source of demand for N8 silicon, as pure silicon makes up 45% of a photovoltaic cell's cost. The rapid growth of the solar industry (41% per year by MW installed since 2001) and the relatively small increases in refining capacity have placed a strain on the world supply. In 2004, demand outstripped supply, and in 2005 supply was 30% less than demand. As a result, solar-grade polysilicon prices have risen from $24 per kg in 2004 to $450 per kg in 2008. This dramatic increase in price has wide-ranging implications, from the cost of many consumer electronics to the future competitiveness of solar power.


The term "photovoltaic" refers to the direct conversion of solar energy to electrical energy. photovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the development of solar cells, used to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

Sunlight is composed of a large number of photons, or packages of energy. When that sunlight hits a photovoltaic cell, it can be absorbed by the silicon. The extra energy conveyed by the photos is transferred to some of the electrons in the silicon atoms, causing them to break away from their atoms. Solar cells are designed to only allow these "loose" electrons to flow in one direction, effectively converting them into direct current (DC) electricity.

With existing solar cells, a three-acre solar farm would produce about one megawatt of power. One megawatt is enough to power about 800 U.S. homes.

The Team

Wahid Shams-Kolahi

Dr. Wahid Shams-Kolahi

President, Chief Technology Officer R&D
PhD, Electrical Engineering

Wahid Shams-Kolahi invented the PRISED process to allow purification of materials in a manner that is greener, cheaper, and safer than existing technologies. He brings the state of the art R&D experience in the field of engineering-material Science and technology from Solar-Cells and Semiconductor Laboratory of Osaka University. While there, he led the "Bulk-Materials for Solar Cells" team and prior to that, he was involved with Chalcogenide Bulk-Semiconductors prepared in the microgravity of space shuttle.

Wahid Shams-Kolahi holds fundamental patent applications on "Silicon Purification" and has published papers in the field of "Novel Bulk Chalcogenide Semiconductors".

After undergraduate course of Electrical Engineering at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, he completed his M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. work at the Osaka University in Japan. He later joined the semiconductor and photovoltaic industry in Japan and also worked in Stuttgart and Osaka as a post doctorate fellow.

Dr. Shams-Kolahi worked as a visiting scientist and later as a research associate at the University of Toronto.

Martin Jaekel

Dr. Martin Jaekel

Ph.D., Genetics (Cambridge)

Martin received his PhD in genetics from the University of Cambridge UK and subsequently became a principal investigator in Cambridge. He then became a management consultant developing customised business models for start-up companies. He has also experience working for national and international research and innovation agencies as well as in R&D strategy.

James Scott

James Scott

Chief Financial Officer

Prior to joining Prised Solar as CFO, Jim was the Chief Audit Executive for Vale Inco Limited (then Inco Limited), a Canadian multinational nickel mining company. His previous roles in the Inco finance group included heading the international tax planning and financial planning and analysis teams, and acting as chief negotiator for aspects of the Goro and Voisey's Bay projects.

Jim came to Inco in 1995 from Price Waterhouse, where he worked in the International Taxation and Mining Taxation specialty groups.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) degree from the University of Toronto, and is a Chartered Accountant (Ontario), Certified Public Accountant, and Certified Internal Auditor and hold a Certification in Risk Management Assurance.

Our Advisers

Harry Ruda

Professor Harry Ruda

B.Sc. (Imperial College, London), Ph.D. (MIT), FInstP, FRSC
Stan Meek Chair in Advanced Nanotechnology
Director, Centre for Advanced Nanotechnology

Harry E. Ruda received the B.Sc. degree (with distinction) from Imperial College of Science and Technology, UK, and Ph.D. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA. He was awarded an IBM Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, during which he worked on one of the first theories of electron transport in quantum nanostructures. From 1984 to 1989 he was a Senior Research Scientist working at 3M Corporation where he was a key member of their II-VI semiconductor blue laser team. In 1989, he joined the MSE department at the University of Toronto, cross appointed to ECE. In 1997 he was appointed as the Director of University of Toronto’s. Centre for Nanotechnology. He has published over 250 publications in internationally refereed journals (with more than 2,800 scientific citations), co-authored 4 books and has 14 patents. Professor Ruda’s research interests focus on the fabrication, modeling understanding of behaviour of quantum functional nanostructures and their applications to nanoelectronics and nanophotonics.

Laetitia Pacaud

Laetitia Pacaud

Bachelor of Business

Laetitia is the executive vice president business development at MDC Property Services.

Since 2000 Laetitia has been an active participant in the real estate industry with a progression of increasing responsibilities in executive roles. Laetitia’s prior positions include various financial reporting roles at Caber Capital Inc., KPMG, and as an Internal Auditor of an Australian public company. Laetitia holds a Bachelor of Business degree from Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia, and is also a certified Chartered Accountant.

Robert Ritchie

Robert Ritchie


Prior to his appointment to the PRISED Advisory Board, Robert Ritchie was the Chief Operating Officer of AMI Partners Inc., a privately-held institutional investment management firm with over $3 billion in assets under management and approximately 30 employees. During his AMI tenure, Robert successfully completed many transactions, including debt retirement and the sale of long-term investments. Recently, Robert was part of the team that merged AMI’s operations with those of Toron Capital Markets Inc., an investment management firm that primarily served the high-net worth market.

Before joining AMI in 1989, Robert worked at Price Waterhouse for seven years, where he obtained his C.A. (now Chartered Professional Accountant) designation.

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Email: info(at)