Organic photovoltaics (OPV)
Holst Centre participates in Solliance
Solliance is the alliance of TNO, TU/e, imec, ECN and Holst Centre for research and development in the field of thin film photovoltaic solar energy (PV) in the ELAT-region (Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle).Within Solliance, Holst Centre offers a shared research program on Roll-to-Roll organic photovoltaics (OPV). This collaboration aims to transfer lab-scale processes into low-cost, large-area processes compatible with Roll-to-Roll production.
Organic photovoltaics (OPV) is a fast emerging research area, with an increasing number of active groups. While currently less efficient at converting energy than their traditional counterparts, OPV offers many advantages that make them an attractive proposition for the solar market. They can be made flexible, lightweight and are potentially less expensive to manufacture than flat panel, inorganic solar cells.
In its OPV Technology Integration program, Holst Centre is working in a ‘one team, one focus’ approach with the Solliance research partners to make OPV even more viable. The program seeks to improve many aspects of OPV including power conversion efficiency, lifetime, while developing new and improved technologies for reproducible and high-yield large area manufacturing at very low costs.
Power conversion efficiency
OPV cells lag behind in power conversion efficiency compared to other PV technologies. To improve efficiency, Holst Centre can already draw on significant expertise in organic device design from its OLED technology integration and also has some strategies for more efficient module manufacturing. In addition, the program is also looking for partners to investigate improvements to material performance. Our aim is to develop large scale manufacturing technology which ensures optimal material performance (raising efficiencies from current world record of 6.7% to 10-12% in the next three to five years).
The program will also investigate better and more stable materials to improve the intrinsic lifetime of OPV cells. In addition, methods to significantly reduce cell degradation will be employed, for example by using advanced barrier technologies such as those being developed in Holst Centre’s electrodes and barriers program.
The overall goal of the program is to bring the total price for manufacturing complete OPV modules down to grid parity with or even below that of fossil fuels. To achieve this, the program aims to develop a low cost, reel-to-reel, high-speed, low temperature manufacturing process operating at atmospheric conditions.
The program will focus on additive manufacturing processes, such as printing and coating, and will avoid expensive techniques such as lithography and post laser treatments. In addition, the program will investigate less expensive and more environmentally friendly materials for coatings, substrates and encapsulation.
High profile team
The program was started in July 2008 and the research team - which includes Paul Blom from Holst Centre and Jan Kroon from ECN, both of whom have strong track records in OPV - has been working on the development roadmap for the program. The program is now open for industrial partners along the complete value chain. In addition to potential OPV producers this also includes those specialized in the areas of materials and equipment manufacturing.