EU project boosts organic photovoltaic for solar power generation

The Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM SA) has launched a four-year, 14.2 million euro ($18.8 million) project that aims to develop highly efficient, long-lasting, cheap and environmentally friendly printed organic photovoltaics (OPV).

The solar energy project, dubbed SUstainable Novel FLexible Organic Watts Efficiently Reliable (Sunflower), gathers 17 partner institutions from science and industry, including Agfa, BASF, DuPont Teijin Films, Amcor Flexible Kreuzlingen, as well as the photovoltaic pioneer Konarka Technologies and European research institutes and universities.

The Sunflower consortium said it expects to produce printed organic PV panels with high efficiency architectures such as tandem cells and dedicated light management structures. The performance of the photo active and passive barrier materials is expected to be much higher including process controlled morphology, partners said.

Project partners said they intend to deliver solutions for cost effective flexible substrates, diffusion barriers and conductors. In the near future, they said they expect to have a deeper knowledge of the device physics, an elucidation of degradation mechanisms and an estimate of the environmental impact of the main materials and processes.

The consortium noted that the requirements for the project prototype include: High module efficiency to be competitive with other photovoltaic (PV) technologies; Multilayer structure (“tandem”) to achieve high efficiency; Cost effective barriers and getters to achieve long lifetime; as well as roll-to-roll atmospheric printing processes to lower costs [where costs include fabrication (Eur) and environmental impact (kgCO2)].