Eight19 is developing a novel printed plastic solar cell technology based on organic semiconductor materials.
Organic semiconductors originate from abundant and therefore potentially low cost materials. Their strong light absorption (100 times stronger than silicon), the tunability of the absorption spectrum by chemical synthesis and their deposition from solution under ambient condition resulting in an ultra-thin solar absorber makes them a highly promising materials class for large scale electrical solar power generation.The unique properties of organic semiconductors in contrast to inorganic semiconductors like silicon allow for the development of
• Low cost
• Highly flexible and
• Low weight solar modules
These properties make plastic solar modules the ideal technology for a broad range of future applications ranging from portable consumer products to solar modules laminated to rigid surfaces like glass panes or cladding for buildings.
The low production cost will be achieved by using highly efficient continuous roll-to-roll printing and coating processes. Many of the technologies that can be utilised for the future production of printed plastic solar cell modules have already been developed by the coating and printing industry. A large variety of printing and coating machines with production speeds of several tens to several hundreds of metres per minutes with web widths of several tens of centimetres to metres are available and established for the production of packaging materials and high quality coatings.
The power conversion efficiency reported for solar cells based on organic semiconductors already exceeds 10% and has shown a strong increase in recent months and years. This progress is driven by significant development programs within large chemical companies, Universities and Institutes. A similar trend can be expected in solar cell life time. Several years up to several decades are predicted from accelerated life time measurements.
Eight19 is developing a scalable production technology for printed plastic solar modules. This involves the development of solar cell and module architectures and the appropriate scalable roll-to-roll production technologies. Partnership is essential in this multi-disciplinary field and the company collaborates closely with the developers and suppliers of the best materials for printed plastic solar modules and with Cambridge University who actively research the fundamental technical challenges of plastic electronics.