The new performance record was reached within the framework of the German project “H2OPV”. His goal? Fabricate thin photovoltaic modules to be embedded in a film of floating fabric to cover the water tanks.
German research in the field of organic photovoltaics continues to break records. Just a few days ago, we were talking about the extraordinary efficiency achieved by the Friedrich-Alexander University with modules of 26 and 204 square centimeters, today it is the turn of the Fraunhofer ISE.
The institute, in cooperation with the Friborg FMF Materials Research Center, has developed new transparent organic solar cells with an efficiency of 14.9%. In itself, the number may not be that surprising. What makes it special, setting it as a new world record, is the active area of the cell it refers to: one square centimeter.
¿Why is this so important? Because, as the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE explain, one of the biggest challenges in photovoltaic technology (not just organic technology) is to transfer the conversion values of light to electricity obtained in very small cells laboratory to larger areas.
The new record is the result of years of work and is part of an ambitious project: create thin photovoltaic modules that are embedded in a floating fabric film to cover the water reservoirs.
The initiative was dubbed H2OPV and was immediately supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The project partners are working simultaneously on different axes: from the formulation of new organic semiconductors to the optimization of printing processes for film production, including tests of floating structures.
New materials for transparent organic solar cells.
One of the first problems to be solved is the durability of solar cells and their efficiency, factors which are not yet comparable to those of silicon technology today. But the speed at which these products are developed today is high. The team’s goal is to develop organic semiconductors that can have high performance and last for at least a decade..
Organic solar cells can be produced without the use of heavy metals and other critical elements, are lightweight, mechanically flexible, can be integrated almost anywhere, and have a seamless appearance even with a semi-transparent design. By selecting organic semiconductors that absorb only infrared light, it is also possible to develop transparent cells for windows, agricultural roofing films or glass for greenhouses.
“We are very satisfied with the results, as we do not suffer any losses“Says Dr Birger Zimmermann, head of the organic solar cell production technology team at Fraunhofer ISE. “It’s an important step in the right direction“Adds Dr Uli Würfel, Head of Organic Photovoltaics and Perovskite Department at Fraunhofer ISE”and we also have some ideas on how to increase efficiency even more. The next few weeks and months will therefore be very exciting.“.