First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tom Fontaine: Not bad. I have 6 kids, and they’ve all done well. We are lucky in Perth. After a serious lockdown and hard borders, businesses have been open now for a while.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Greatcell Energy.
Tom Fontaine: I’m an engineer with 30 years’ experience in starting and building companies. The company Greatcell Energy was listed on the Australian stock exchange, with a Market Cap of $67M, but it went bankrupt in Dec 2018. A group of us rescued the company, as it has a great 3rd generation solar technology that has the potential to disrupt the renewable energy industry.
How does Greatcell Energy innovate?
Tom Fontaine: We are world leaders in making solar cells from perovskite materials. It has the potential to provide solar power at a fraction of the cost of current solar technologies.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tom Fontaine: We had to stop production and operations for 6 months. Some of our operations are in Italy. We are now slowly getting back to the lab and setting up a production facility in New South Wales.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tom Fontaine: Yes. Learned to work much more effectively remotely.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Tom Fontaine: Meditation. Going for walks.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tom Fontaine: Oxford PV. Saule Technologies. This technology area is such a new field that there are very few commercial products.
We are working towards developing some of the first commercial perovskite-based products.