- Industry Roundup
- Fab & Facilities
- Cell Processing
- Thin Film
- PV Modules
- Power Generation
Organic PV thin films may hold a significant promise of low cost electricity generation but longevity has been a key weakness of the technology. However, Konarka Technologies has become the first OPV manufacturer to become certified in compliance with IEC 61646, an accelerated lifetime testing protocol by TÜV Rheinland.
According to Polyera, the Newport Corporation’s PV cell lab has confirmed that Polyera’s polymer/fullerene OPV cell has achieved a 9.1% power conversion efficiency with an inverted bulk heterojunction architecture using ActivInk PV 2000 semiconductor material. The company said its active layer materials are able to be deposited using a wider range of film thickness without lower cell efficiency, which is said to improve yields and simplify manufacturing.
Nanotechnology-based thin-film materials specialist, Cambrios Technologies has received a US$5 million, Series D-3 financing round from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation as part of a prelude to further business collaborations on coating materials, which could include transparent electrodes for touch screens, liquid crystal displays, e-paper, OLED devices, OLED lighting and thin film photovoltaics.
UK-based organic thin film start-up, Eight19 has installed roll-to-roll printing equipment at its Cambridge, UK headquarters as a preliminary move towards volume production, as reported by PV-Tech’s sister-site, Solar Power Portal UK. Thought to be the largest of its kind in Europe, the bespoke facility includes a multi-station roll-to-roll fabrication machine which is designed to manufacture solar substrates. Eight19 expects to have the first of its commercial printed plastic solar modules available in 2013.
Lux Research’s latest report, Finding the Winning and Losing Companies in Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics, has rated technology developers in displays, OPVs, smart packaging, transparent conductive films and thin-film batteries to compile its list of some of the top companies in each category. Using its Lux Innovation Grid to reach each technology developer, Lux Research looked at the company’s technical value, business execution and maturity.
Japan-based Tanaka Precious Metals has taken-out licenses from the National Central University, Taiwan to manufacture and supply ruthenium-based dye compounds for next generation dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC). The ruthenium complex dye was developed by Professor Chun-Guey Wu and post-doctoral researcher, Chia-Yuan Chen, with reported conversion efficiencies of 11.4%, reported in the scientific journal, ACS nano in 2009, operating in the visible light wavelength range of approximately 400 to 750 nanometers.
Dye-sensitized solar thin-film specialist, Dyesol has claimed a 15% increase in the efficiency performance of large DSC strip cells has been achieved, bringing industrial DSC efficiency up from 6.9% to 8% in 2011. The increase in efficiency results were said to come from improvements in materials and structural design elements.
A new world-record efficiency of 8.3% has been claimed for a polymer-based single junction organic solar cell in an inverted device stack. Research house, imec and industrial partners Polyera and Solvay developed the proprietary inverted bulk heterojunction architecture, which resulted in achieving much higher efficiencies that other organic thin film cells have to date. Work is ongoing to increase the cell size and lifetime, a key challenge for organic-based cells.
Fraunhofer ISE CalLab has certified a 9.8% cell efficiency for Heliatek’s 1.1cm² tandem organic solar cell, which was created with a low temperature deposition process. The company’s in-house measurements have demonstrated that scaling up its record-breaking cells to a panel with a size factor >120 produces efficiency over 9% for the active module area. Heliatek notes that its new record is the third in a row that it has set for efficiency in OPV.
Working with its 16 project partners Imec has launched the European FP7 project X10D. The collaboration will see the companies working towards the development of tandem organic solar cells that boast increased conversion efficiency, a longer lifetime and a smaller production cost. Imec advised that the overarching goal of the project is to bring OPV technologies into the competitive thin-film PV market.
Roll-to-roll PV manufacturing will receive a boost with the news that imec’s Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative, has teamed up with nTact for developments in the field of flexible electronics. nTact is the trade name for FAS Holdings Group, a US manufacturer of high-precision deposition systems for the microelectronics and energy industries.
Organic PV company Konarka Technologies is working alongside the colour and construction unit of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe to develop a number of building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) solutions using its Power Plastic.
One announcement that has been creating quite a buzz at this year’s EU PVSEC exhibition and conference is Konarka’s news that it is venturing down the BIPV route with its organic solar cells. Outlining the company’s strategy during a press conference at the show, company CEO, director and cofounder Howard Berke stated that it was a natural move for the company, whose 1cm2 single-junction OPV cells have been verified by NREL as having 8.29% efficiency.
Belgian research centre imec has announced the development of its new organic PV cell. Developed in conjunction with Pennsylvanian technology company Plextronics and Belgian chemical company Solvay, the polymer-based single junction cell achieves an efficiency of up to 6.9%. A module using the same polymer achieved an efficiency of 5% across an area of 25cm2.
Dyesol advised that it had completed the delivery and installation of equipment for DyeTec Solar’s dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC)-based BIPV program, which is funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Fund. The equipment was delivered to DyeTec’s Toledo, Ohio facility with Dyesol noting that it had relocated staff with a DSC background to the site. Management and technical personnel moved to Ohio in May and completed the first phase of the program, which has allowed Dye Tec to commence building prototype panels.