Dyesol confirms technology development partnership with UK’s SPECIFIC innovation centre

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Thin-film OPV firm, Dyesol has renewed its involvement with Swansea University in Wales and the Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings (SPECIFIC) to develop and commercialise perovskite-based OPV thin-film products. 

Dyesol had previously been involved in SPECIFIC with Tata Steel back in 2010, to develop and commercialise liquid-based dye sensitised thin-film coatings and laminates for steel roofing applications. The relationship with Tata Steel goes back to 2007.

However, Tata Steel pulled-out of the programme in 2013. Dyesol recently noted in the FY Q1 results that its earlier generation OPV materials had “relatively poor performance in low light conditions” and that the European solar roofing markets were at an early stage of development. 

Recently, Dyesol also re-engaged and signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Tata Steel but the thin-film firm would be responsible for product development and eventually sales to its customer base in the future.

Chris Moore, project leader, Tata Steel, remarked: “We are extremely encouraged by the latest commercial developments in the UK Dyesol has been intensely focused on the development of its revolutionary technology over the past seven years and it looks forward to realising its vision of bringing third generation PV to the UK and European markets. This technology is versatile and the possibilities for commercialisation are vast.”

PV Tech recently revealed that Dyesol was undertaking a technology and product planning review that included both prototype and pilot line phases were expected to be concluded in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Mass production was said to be by 2018. 

The company expects its revised product range to address free standing and BIPV installations, including glass and steel substrates, while the addition of solid-state perovskite materials would boost conversion efficiencies and overcome the issue of poor low light performance. 

However, key development work is in material stability and longevity to meet standard requirements of 20-plus year field operation with degradation rates comparable to conventional crystalline and other thin-film technologies such as CIGS and CdTe PV modules. 

Dr Gerry Ronan, head of IP commercialisation, Swansea University added: “Swansea, and in particular the SPECIFIC consortium, are now recognised as being world leaders in the scale-up of third generation photovoltaics. This is an exciting time for PV, scientific progress worldwide has been extremely rapid over the past couple of years and manufacture at scale is now truly on the agenda.”   

Dyesol has also partnered with UK’s Sheffield University and received a £220,000 Knowledge Transfer Partnership grant. 

The company did not disclose what grants it would be receiving from SPECIFIC or the Welsh government, which originally invested in establishing SPECIFIC. 

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