Mass production of polymer solar cells within reach

July 1, 2010

Ten years of intensive research and development at Risoe DTU (Technical University of Denmark) is now materialized in a fully operational production line for polymer solar cells at the Danish company Mekoprint A/S. Polymer solar cells which is an inexpensive alternative to silicon solar cells, has a significant industrial potential.

Production of polymer starts from a roll of flexible foil onto which the solar cell is built layer by layer by printing and finally rolled up onto the coil again. Encapsulated and ready-to-use units can thereafter be cut from the roll and according to the customer's specification. As the whole process from feedstock to finished product is performed roll-to-roll, the new production line paves the way towards of solar cells and thereby correspondingly low prices.

Risoe DTU has supplied the as a complete package consisting of a custom-made printing head, inks for printing the solar cell's various layers and training of operators. Mekoprint has contributed with an established industrial infrastructure and their core technology which is industrial roll-to-roll production.

Professor at Risoe DTU Frederik C. Krebs is the driving force behind the Danish . Ten years ago he started out with a bright idea, his two hands and a strong dedication. Today Frederik Krebs is the head of an international leading research team counting more than 25 persons - a team capable of combining world-class science with a strong desire to bring science out into real life. The Risø team distinguishing themselves by being first to demonstrate new and innovation applications for the polymer solar cell: "The Solar Hat" - a hat powering a small FM radio (Roskilde Festival 2008), a solar-powered reading lamp for African schoolchildren (Zambia 2009) and the world's first grid-connected PV installation based on the polymer technology (Risoe 2009).

Risø's and Mekoprint's staffs have over the last months worked hard to rebuild one of Mekoprint's existing printing line to the new production, and the very first solar cells from this line were produced at 22 June 2010.

A line producing polymer solar cell is an important incentive for continuing the activities at Risoe DTU. The polymer solar cell technology is still young and immature compared to the 50-year old silicon technology. The gap between the two technologies is to be gradually reduced by focused research and development, and this task is already addressed by the Risø team.

Mekoprint's production strengthens Denmark's position among the international front runners in industrialization of solar cells. "Mekoprint has the competencies and the experience necessary to manufacture high-volume and high-quality products for the electronics industry. The ability to conduct quality assurance of processes is essential when taking new products from the lab to the market, and this is where Mekoprint adds decisive value to the research project," says Karsten Ries, Divisional Director and responsible for the project at Mekoprint A/S.

Explore further: Sharp to Begin Mass-Production of Thin-Film Photovoltaic Modules

Related Stories

Honda to Mass Produce Next-Generation Thin Film Solar Cell

December 19, 2005

Honda announced its plan to begin mass production in 2007, of an independently developed thin film solar cell composed of non-silicon compound materials, which requires 50% less energy, and thus generate 50% less CO2, during ...

Looking deeply into polymer solar cells

September 13, 2009

Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Ulm have made the first high-resolution 3D images of the inside of a polymer solar cell. This gives them important new insights in the nanoscale ...

Solar Cells with LEDs Provide Inexpensive Lighting

November 9, 2009

( -- Of the 1.5 billion people in developing countries who do not have electricity, many rely on kerosene lamps for light after the sun goes down. But now, researchers from Denmark have designed an LED lamp that ...

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

New 'self-healing' gel makes electronics more flexible

November 25, 2015

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a first-of-its-kind self-healing gel that repairs and connects electronic circuits, creating opportunities to advance the ...

Getting under the skin of a medieval mystery

November 23, 2015

A simple PVC eraser has helped an international team of scientists led by bioarchaeologists at the University of York to resolve the mystery surrounding the tissue-thin parchment used by medieval scribes to produce the first ...

Atom-sized craters make a catalyst much more active

November 24, 2015

Bombarding and stretching an important industrial catalyst opens up tiny holes on its surface where atoms can attach and react, greatly increasing its activity as a promoter of chemical reactions, according to a study by ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.