Mass production of polymer solar cells within reach

Jul 01, 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: Two teams pave way for advances in 2D materials

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Solar Cells with LEDs Provide Inexpensive Lighting

Nov 09, 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 ...

Looking deeply into polymer solar cells

Sep 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 ...

Honda to Mass Produce Next-Generation Thin Film Solar Cell

Dec 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 ...

Recommended for you

Two teams pave way for advances in 2D materials

2 hours ago

This month's headlines on two-dimensional polymers showed noteworthy headway. "2-D Polymer Crystals Confirmed At Last," said Chemical & Engineering News. "Engineers Make the World's First Verified, 2-Dimensional P ...

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

20 hours ago

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process—think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into ...

New catalyst converts carbon dioxide to fuel

22 hours ago

Scientists from the University of Illinois at Chicago have synthesized a catalyst that improves their system for converting waste carbon dioxide into syngas, a precursor of gasoline and other energy-rich products, bringing ...

Bullet 'fingerprints' to help solve crimes

22 hours ago

Criminals don't just have to worry about their own fingerprints these days: because of a young forensic scientist at The University of Western Australia, they should also be very concerned about their bullets' ...

User comments : 0