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According to a report released by research and consultancy group IDTechEx, the market for printed electronics has the potential to reach around US$9.4 billion by the end of the year. This figure includes devices that are not currently printed but which are moving towards being printed, of which 30% of the devices under inclusion are made predominately by printing, and 6% are manufactured on a non-rigid substrate.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have achieved a new record of 10.6% for the power-conversion efficiency of an organic polymer solar cell. Certified by the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the record was achieved using a tandem device to harvest a wider range of the solar spectrum.
The Plastics Electronics Conference, co-located with SEMICON Europa since 2010, has been acquired by trade group, SEMI. The conference the committee has organized includes industry and academic leaders in the field of organic and inorganic large area electronics (OLAE will serve as a plastic electronics special interest group, guiding SEMI activities and services worldwide). SEMI said the conference and exhibition format would be extended to other regions in the future.
An EU-funded project has been launched to encourage the development of new organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells. With a budget of €14.2 million, the four-year initiative is to be led by the Swiss Centre for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM).
Through collaboration with international charitable organization WorldVenture, South Sudan is now the fourth country in which Eight19’s pay-as-you-go off-grid PV system is in operation. The plan is to deploy 1,000 units in the first half of 2012 in South Sudan and a total of 3,000 units of its small flexible OPV modules in Kenya, Zambia and Malawi.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has, in collaboration with New Energy Technologies, produced its largest-area OPV module ever at 170cm2. The companies’ engineers have worked together on developing New Energy’s SolarWindow technology that allows the generation of electricity on see-through glass windows.
Heliatek’s OPV panels will be used in Reckli’s concrete walls to create a new solution in BIPV without compromising on aesthetics. Heliatek claims the flexibility of its panels allows them to be fully integrated into the concrete walls whilst maintaining efficiency.
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.