Towards efficient, large-area, arbitrary shape organic solar cells
Europe has a leading role in the development of OPV technologies and a strategic target is to keep this position. To stay in the front line and generate new innovations in the field of OPV this project, ArtESun, has been built up combining the multidisciplinary and complementary competences of top-level European research groups and industries. This consortium has the capability to make break-through advances in the development of high performance innovative materials for multijunction OPVs suitable for cost-effective non-vacuum production of arbitrary size and shape modules with efficiency over 15% in relevant environment and lifetimes relevant to its expected future applications.
Furthermore, the consortium will demonstrate the potential of these newly developed materials to improve the competitiveness of selected European SMEs thanks to their active participation and by integrating modules into working demonstrators selected according to their needs. Application potential will be demonstrated in the field of BIPV, as an energy harvesting element for a RFID, and as a photovoltaic antenna for wireless sensors.
Novel high performance materials - photoactive as well as for the interlayers - will be designed and synthesized and their functional performance (mobility, work function, dielectric constant, etc.) will be characterized. These materials will first be tested in single junction OPV cells, measuring the energy conversion efficiencies of the cells and understanding the interactions of the layers in different device configurations. To reach high energy conversion efficiencies the materials developed will be employed in novel cell architectures with double and triple junctions. Moreover, once these materials have been optimized in terms of power conversion efficiency (PCE) in singlecells, they will be monolithically integrated into modules. These modules will be produced by using a novel technique strictly based on non-vacuum additive R2R printing and coating processing and self-structuring of the active area. This technique guarantees a more efficient material usage and will convincingly demonstrate the cost-effective production of industrial modules since it avoids any subtractive steps such as laser or mechanical scribing. These developments pave the way to increase the power conversion efficiency for OPV modules surpassing 15% in a relevant environment based on the novel materials and architectures developed in ArtESun.
It has been demonstrated that the device architecture e.g. conventional versus inverted, can have a strong influence on the lifetime of the OPV cells. The new materials developed in this project will therefore be combined in different layer configurations and tested under a multitude of stress factors. This will lead to a better understanding of the degradation mechanisms at the material and cell level and enable to increase the lifetime of the cells. Long term stable operation will furthermore be guaranteed by innovative packaging solutions based on flexible glass. It is expected that this project will enable in this way to improve the lifetime by more than factor 10 for several stress factors from today’s known OPV cells and modules.
Important tasks and developments in this project are also related to cost-effective processing of the OPV cells and modules by low-cost R2R printing and coating processes, enabling to target broad range of application domains due to the large geometrical freedom in size and shape. Novel materials and patterning methods to avoid subtractive steps in processing of OPV modules and also to address the use of non-toxic, halogen-free ink formulations will be developed.
The cost/efficiency ratio of the R2R processed OPV modules developed in the ArtESun project will be continuously monitored and compared to the inorganic PV technologies which are already part of the activity portfolio of the end-users actively involved in this project. This will ensure the identification of future application areas in which the use of OPV modules is more favourable than inorganic PV technologies. It is in these relevant environments that the performance will be demonstrated at the end of the project.
The cost structure of the produced OPV modules will be validated by developing valid business cases for several demonstrator applications.
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