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Plextronics announces developments in organic photovoltaics

Plextronics has announced its Plexcore PV 2000, an organic solar ink, which the company hails as being able to deliver higher performance in fluorescent lighting conditions in comparison to amorphous silicon solar cells. The Plexcore PV 2000 is said to have a 30% to 40% increase in indoor power density in comparison to the standard organic solar technology.

Plextronics stated that Plexcore will contain safe, non-toxic material and have a lower cost due to the application of high-throughput, roll-to-roll printing processes for manufacturing. Mary Boone, director of ink business development, stated, “ Working with our partners and customers, we've talked with major retailers and consumer goods companies in the U.S. who want to replace the traditional paper signage used in stores today with low-cost, animated point-of-purchase displays that are self-powered by OPV. Retailers don't want the ongoing cost and disruption of having to purchase and replace conventional batteries in these displays, so there is tremendous interest in using printable OPV as the power source for these new displays. By enabling the low-cost manufacturing of OPV through our Plexcore PV 2000, we are helping to get this market off the ground.”

In addition to its Plexcore technology, Plextronics has announced a new manufacturing method that allows for low-temperature processing of OPV. Conventional industry techniques use a glass substrate annealed at temperatures at or above 110° C. The company has developed a process which allows for the annealing process at less than 65° C. Plextronics looks to this breakthrough reducing manufacturing costs by using less expensive substrates.

Plextronics' VP of business development Jim Dietz commented, "Our customers and partners all over the world are looking to OPV as the way to manufacture low-cost, flexible solar devices. One of the major hurdles facing the industry in that regard is being able to manufacture devices in an environment that doesn't require high temperatures because it is expensive to process inks at these temperatures and it could damage flexible substrates. The low-temperature process we are developing at Plextronics is expected to be fully compatible with roll-to-roll manufacturing equipment so we see that as one possible pathway for our customers."


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    Forecasting the evolution of a young, dynamic industry is by definition an uncertain business, and solar is no exception. Rarely, if ever, do the numbers broadcast by any of the various bodies involved in the PV prediction game tally, and even historical deployment rates remain the subject of hot debate. The paradox is that getting forecasts broadly right is going to become increasingly important over the next few years, particularly for those involved in producing the equipment that will support whatever levels of demand come to pass.



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