The triggering of SOLPROCEL took place when COMSA EMTE and ICFO realized the potential that an organic photovoltaic (OPV) based technology has to be incorporated in transparent modules to generate electricity.
Indeed, the OPV technology is the only one capable of producing semitransparent colorless cells providing a clear and undistorted image when looking through the device. It can be perfectly integrated in buildings façades offering an enormous potential for electricity production units to penetrate in urban areas.
However, COMSA EMTE is well aware that transparent OPV cells are not yet ready for a module production phase and priority must be given to material research. Several issues, spanning from the development of low cost module fabrication to having stable and durable devices, must be addressed. Much of the success rests on having the materials for such low cost module fabrication. To achieve an optimal light harvesting in a solution-processed semitransparent OPV cell, we propose to combine the device processing developed by FAU with the photonic control developed by ICFO. Encouraged by COMSA EMTE and FAU, ICFO took the lead of SOLPROCEL.
The project incorporates 3 companies which will be able to industrially produce the PV and nano materials needed in solution-processed OPV cells: Specific Polymers the PV polymers, Nanograde the nanoparticles used in the buffer layers, and RAS the Ag nanowires used in the electrodes. In SOLPROCEL such companies will be guided by three research institutions which can provide complementary knowhow in three of the fundamental aspects of OPV technology: nano-fabrication (FAU), light management (ICFO), and organic synthesis (FhG-IAP).
The quantifiable goal of SOLPROCEL is to obtain the materials needed for fully solution-processed high performance transparent OPV cells and to raise the efficiency of such cells from 5.6% to 9%. This later value corresponding to 80% of the 12% efficiency of the corresponding opaque cell.
The scientific and technological end goal of SOLPROCEL is to obtain the new nano and organic materials necessary for fully solution-processed high performance semi-transparent solar cells. We plan to use these materials to obtain stable devices that raise the efficiency of semi-transparent (30% luminosity) OPV cells from 5.6% to 9%. For the opaque cell this corresponds to 12% efficiency. The luminosity of the fabricated semi-transparent devices will be in the range 30 to 40%.
We have established objectives, six scientific, to undertake material research in all aspects of the cell device:
Objective 1: Design, synthesis and formulation development of new cross-linkable donor acceptor polymers to enhance infrared absorption and long-term thermal stability.
Objective 2: Use tandem cells to optically optimize the layered architecture and achieve a maximum light absorption with a minimum thickness for the active material.
Objective 3: Improve device stability by identifying degradation mechanisms.
Objective 4: Intercalate Ag nanowire electrodes within the architecture of the semi-transparent cells that use the photonic crystal to enhance infrared absorption
Objective 5: Develop new nano-particle inks to be used as alternative charge transporting layers, replacing the ones currently being used
Objective 6: Replace the low and high index inorganic materials currently used in the fabrication of the photonic nano-layered structure by low refractive index polymer and a high refractive index nanoparticle layers
Objective 7: Printing transparent OPV cells
Objective 8: Standardization and benchmarking of semitransparent OPV for use in façades