Multijunction solar cells, OLEDs candidates for Deutscher Zukunftspreis

Each year, the jury of Germany’s Deutscher Zukunftspreis nominates teams that acheive scientific breakthroughs and commercialize the results. This year, one team developed CPV, while another contributed greatly to organic electronics, specifically OLEDs.

August 29, 2011 — The Deutscher Zukunftspreis, the Federal President’s Award for Innovation and Technology, is an annual prize honoring teams of creative people that realize breakthroughs in science and commercialize the results. Every year, the jury of the German Future Prize nominates three teams that, thanks to their excellent research, have successfully introduced new products to the market. The award will be presented by the German Federal President Christian Wulff on December 14 in Berlin. Information is available at www.deutscher-zukunftspreis.de.

OLED maker Novaled AG‘s founders Prof. Karl Leo (Technical University of Dresden and Fraunhofer IPMS Dresden), Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth (Novaled AG) and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer (now at Heliatek GmbH) have been nominated, as have Dr Klaus-Dieter Rasch (AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH), Hansjörg Lerchenmüller (Soitec), and Dr. Andreas Bett (Fraunhofer ISE). The third nominated team works on electronic assistance for motorists interacting with the environment and other people, called “6D Vision.”

Novaled’s team developed organic electronics, begining at the Technical University Dresden, with organic light emitting diode (OLED) doping technologies that reduced energy consumption. The more efficient OLED products are used for flat panel displays, low-power lighting and efficient and flexible solar cells. Novaled AG and Heliatek GmbH, which makes organic solar cell products, are part of Saxony’s organic electronics development cluster.

Novaled AG makes OLEDs, specializing in high-efficiency long-lifetime OLED structures. Learn more at www.novaled.com

Hansjörg Lerchenmüller, Dr Andreas Bett and Dr Klaus-Dieter Rasch developed solar photovoltaic technology that converts twice as much sunlight into electrical energy as silicon solar systems. Lenses concentrate sunlight onto multijunction solar cells, which capture different ranges of the solar spectrum. This concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) concept is in use today for large solar power plants, as well as space applications.

15 years ago, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE stacked several layers of various semiconductors in one solar cell. In these 3mm-diameter solar cells, III and V semiconductors (gallium indium phosphide, gallium indium arsenide and germanium) are deposited on top of one another. The III-V solar cells developed at Fraunhofer ISE boast an efficiency of 41.1%, and efficiencies around 50% are feasible.

Multijunction solar cells were initially developed for space applications. The III-V solar cells developed at Fraunhofer ISE are industrially manufactured by AZUR SPACE and used to supply energy for telecommunications satellites. However, the company also specializes in the cost-effective production of multijunction solar cells for terrestrial applications.

Optical concentration — the lenses that concentrate sunlight by a factor of 500 — enabled use of multijunction solar cells for terrestrial applications.

Fraunhofer ISE founded a spin-off company under the direction of Hansjörg Lerchenmüller ? Concentrix Solar GmbH, which introduced Concentrix Modules to the market, and was acquired by Soitec. The company’s commercial modules convert 28% of sunlight into electricity.

Soitec Solar has installed a capacity of more than 3MW in power plants in Southern Europe, South Africa and the USA and will shortly build another module factory in the US.

Soitec (Euronext Paris) makes semiconductor materials for energy and electronic applications. For more information, please visit: www.soitec.com

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) is a solar energy research institute. For more information, visit: www.ise.fraunhofer.de

AZUR SPACE Solar Power makes high-efficiency solar cells for space and terrestrial CPV applications. For more information, please visit: www.azurspace.com

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