Lifespan of Organic Solar Cells Could Increase

Konarka Technologies Inc. announced that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting a development project through a consortium that is headed by Konarka.

BMBF said that it will provide funding of nearly €2.5 million [US $3.16 million] over the next three years for the project. The project, called “OPV Stability”, will look to increase the lifespan of organic solar cells (OSC) with the goal of yielding competitive organic photovoltaics (OPV) for potential commercial use.

“The partners of this BMBF initiative are participating to break through technological and economic barriers in innovation in the field of organic photovoltaics,” commented Christoph Brabec, CTO at Konarka. “We are expected to make significant contributions to extending the lifespan of organic solar cells, ultimately delivering future organic photovoltaic technology with increased commercial attractiveness.”

Organic solar cells are flexible, semi-transparent and inexpensive to produce, yielding huge potential for the future, but existing barrier materials result in a limited lifespan. Significantly higher life expectancy can only be realized by combining high-quality encapsulation with high intrinsic stability of photoactive materials, which is the focus of the BMBF “OPV Stability” project.

Established to develop stable organic solar modules, the consortium involved in the project includes University Tübingen, University Wuppertal, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and the Max-Planck-Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz.

The BMBF recently announced that it is also supporting a future-oriented development project by a consortium of companies, including Konarka, which aims to develop innovative polymeric solar cells for energy-autonomous systems. The BMBF Efficiency Project is expected to yield solar cells that are optimized for specific applications with efficiencies of more than 10% and are highly competitive with other PV technologies. 

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