The German government is investing EUR 2.5 million in a project that will significantly increase the lifespan of organic solar cells (OSC) with the goal of yielding competitive organic photovoltaics (OPV) for potential commercial use.
The project called OPV Stability will receive funding from Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a period of three years through a consortium headed by Konarka technologies.
The consortium consists of renowned academic partners including University Tübingen, University Wuppertal, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz.
"We are expected to make significant contributions to extending the lifespan of organic solar cells, ultimately delivering future organic photovoltaic technology with increased commercial attractiveness," commented Christoph Brabec, CTO at Konarka.
Organic solar cells are flexible, semi-transparent and extremely inexpensive to produce, yielding huge potential for the future, but existing barrier materials result in a limited lifespan. Significantly higher life expectancy can only be realized by combining high-quality encapsulation with high intrinsic stability of photoactive materials, which is the focus of the BMBF Stability Project.
There have been many improvements in OSC technology in the recent past, but due mostly to improved packaging of cells rather than an extension of the lifespan. Recently IMEC's associated laboratory IMOMEC, located on the campus of the Hasselt University in Belgium, developed a method to stabilize the nanomorphology of organic solar cells resulting in a lifetime improvement of at least a factor 10. They hope that this will pave the way to commercial organic solar cells with an operational lifetime of over 5 years and efficiencies of over 10%.
The BMBF recently announced that it is also supporting a future-oriented development project by a consortium of renowned companies, including Konarka, which aims to develop innovative polymeric solar cells for energy-autonomous systems. The BMBF Efficiency Project is expected to yield solar cells that are optimized for specific applications with efficiencies of more than 10% and are highly competitive with other PV technologies.
For more attend Printed Electronics Europe 2009. Also read Printed and Thin Film Photovoltaics and Batteries.
References: Konarka Technologies