Belectric aquires German Konarka Daughter

Related to this post on Konarka’s bankruptcy: According to a range of news sites, Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountainsincluding pv-tech.org, the german company Belectric has acquired Konarka Technologies. Find the press release here (pdf).

The system integrator Belectric is situated in Lower Franconia, less than 50km from Würzburg and less than 10km from where I live. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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Towards ten percent… Solarmer hits 7.9% with plastic solar cell

Via pv-tech. Brief note on efficiency record: Solarmer has managed to get an (NREL certified) power conversion efficiency of 7.9% for an organic solar cell… sounds good, and broke the recent record (by the same company). It is important to mention, though, that the active area was very small with 0.1cm2 (aperture 0.047cm2).

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Funding for Organic Photovoltaics Company

Many people believe that organic photovoltaics companies will have to prove soon that Fliegenpilz im Herbstwald (no direct connection between photo and blog content are implied;-)they can come up with commercially viable products within the next two-three years. In this context, Heliatek, a Germany based company developing organic small molecule solar cells with high efficiency, has received 18 Million Euros in a second round of funding from venture capitalists and others. From the press release:

Heliatek will be utilizing the new funding primarily to build an initial production facility in Dresden. In this step and right through to mass production, the company will be using its proprietary tandem technology to efficiently produce, flexible and very lightweight PV modules on a film substrate. Their weight will be merely 500 grams per square meter, instead of today’s customary 20 kilograms per square meter. This will open up a forward-looking market for mobile applications, for architectural solutions and for independently supplying regions with weak infrastructures.

Indeed, interesting times for OPV – particularly in view of the commercial aspects! The science aspects are also getting more and more interesting, but unfortunately I thus have less and less time to write about them here…

P.S. Another company Solexant just starts the production of hybrid solar cells after the process developed by the group of Paul Alivisatos at Berkeley, as reported by Technology Review.

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5.9% and more

Brief note: 5.9 % power conversion efficiency (german, translation here; [Update 28.11.2009] it now says 6.07%) from small molecule p-i-n tandem solar cell with 2 sqcm area, made by Heliatek in Dresden. Nice picture (also by Heliatek:-)
Small Molecule Solar Cell, Foto by Heliatek GmbH.

The claim “new world record: efficiency of organic solar cell increased to 5.9%” should be preceded by “almost”, or succeeded by “based on small molecules”, because less than 2 months ago, Konarka had a press release about a certified efficiency of 6.4% for an organic bulk heterojunction solar cell. Although not mentioned in the press release, this one is probably not a tandem cell.

[Update 3.9.2009] After talking to Moritz Riede, a researcher from Dresden, I understood that the world record is unique in as far as the area is above one square-centimeter: 2 cm2, whereas the Konarka cell has only 0.76 cm2 – almost at, but not quite above “unity”. This distinction comes from the solar cell efficiency tables by Green et al. (see for instance [Green 2009]).
Thus, the 5.9% are best for small molecule based solar cells, and the best organic solar cells above one cm2: congratulations!

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Buckyball Polymers?

Just a brief note, via Slashdot and Technology Review: a Cambridge group has published the synthesis route for a fullerene polymer – Chairlift to nowherethey call it fullerene-based one-dimensional nanopolymer – which might be an interesting acceptor material for organic photovoltaics. The preprint can be found on arXiv. The fullerene polymer has not been functionalised yet, it is thus not soluble enough for solution processing. Also, the electrical conductivity remains an open question… are the spacers critical? Nevertheless, interesting addition to the group of fullerene derivatives, after the recent bis-fullerenes [Lenes 2008] and endohedral fullerenes [Ross 2009].

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Making The Round: New Report on Materials for Organic Photovoltaics Sector

Via David Kirkpatrick’s Blog: Little Friend

Yesterday, a new report on the future prospects of the organic photovoltaics business was presented by the analyst firm Nanomarkets. It is said to include a roadmap for improvements in organic solar cell lifetimes and efficiencies, as well as forecast of volume and price of relevant materials over the course of eight years.

I cannot comment on the analysts’ expertise, although they are specialised on market research for organic and printable electronics – which has pros (they know what they are talking about) and cons (they might be pretty subjective), I reckon;-) See their press release here. All in all, a promising future is just what we need:-)

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