Solar

Konarka Contracted for Hybrid Solar PV Cells

Konarka Technologies has been selected by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to receive a contract in excess of US$6 million for basic research in developing new materials for hybrid photovoltaic (PV) cells.

Lowell, Massachusetts – February 18, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “We are certainly pleased that DARPA has recognized Konarka’s leadership and expertise in the development of advanced photovoltaic technologies, and we look forward to offering breakthrough products that will convert light to energy,” said Dr. Bill Beckenbaugh, Konarka Technologies Chief Technology Officer. “The funding to conduct research in new materials for high efficiency hybrid cells will enable Konarka to bring low cost, environment friendly cells to market faster, and that has significance for both military and civilian applications.” Konarka will lead a consortium of academic and national laboratories to develop new materials for hybrid photovoltaics. Konarka will manage the contract and will share the award over five years with research and development partners including: Arizona State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); University of Delaware; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; and U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Massachusetts. “Konarka’s process technology, coupled with our library of photoactive chemistries, places us in a leadership position in next generation photovoltaics,” said Daniel Patrick McGahn, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Konarka. “The hybrid cell chemistry is one in our arsenal and represents a path to very high efficiency cells. Each one of these photoactive chemistries opens up new ways to differentiate a Konarka product in the marketplace. In 2005 we will go to market with our first product based on dye-sensitized cell chemistry which currently is on par with today’s commercially available thin-film. The hybrid cell chemistry represents a possible future evolution of Konarka products. Today, hybrid cells are an avenue for scientific exploration in search of higher efficiency.” DARPA is the central research and development organization for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). It manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development projects. DARPA is particularly interested in PV applications that may provide dramatic advances for traditional military roles and missions. Potential military applications for hybrid PV cells include battery charging on the battlefield, remote power for soldiers and unmanned vehicles, and solar-powered sensor networks. “Hybrid photovoltaic cells build on the breakthroughs we have already achieved with dye-sensitized cells and polymer cells” said Dr. Russell Gaudiana, Konarka Technologies Vice President of Research and Development. “The hybrid cells will incorporate unique forms of polymers and semiconductors in the cells’ active layers. This funding will accelerate our development of hybrid cells that turn light into electricity with an estimated efficiency of more than 20 percent, which is a significant improvement over existing cells.” Hybrid cells are at the intersection of dye-sensitized cells developed by Dr. Michael Graetzel, and polymer cells developed by Dr. Alan Heeger. “New materials and their manipulation into new morphologies will be required in order to achieve significantly higher levels of performance,” said Heeger, a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. “Konarka is heading-up a team that is at the leading edge of photovoltaic technology.”