Dyesol to commercialize perovskite cells in Turkey

Australian renewable energy group Dyesol has signed a deal with Nesli DSC to introduce and commercialize perovskite Dye Solar Cell (DSC) PV technology in Turkey.

Nesli, based in the southern Turkish city of Mersin, was formed with the specific objective of commercializing the region’s first products based on DSC technology and is focusing on DSC-based building integrated PV (BIPV) facade panels for commercial buildings.

According to the agreement, the companies will work to achieve three separate stages of development and commercialization: prototype, staged manufacture and mass manufacture.

Dyesol is looking to carry out the first stage during 2015 with the establishment of a prototype facility in Turkey underpinned by a $1.9 million contract for supply of prototype equipment.

Dyesol has begun work on the project, undertaken substantially by its wholly owned South Korean subsidiary Dyesol-Timo. The group said the successful completion of the first stage would result in the formation of a 50-50 joint venture between Dyesol and Nesli aimed at implementing the companies’ commercialization strategy.

In 2016, Dyesol and Nesli plan to establish a staged manufacturing or pilot line facility, which is expected to produce volumes of PV product in excess of 20,000 square meters. “This stage will also allow for product testing, product accreditation and manufacturing process optimization,” Dyesol said.

The successful completion of the staged manufacturing phase would then lead to the start of mass manufacturing in 2018, which Dyesol expects will produce “multi-million square meters annually.”

Dyesol is meeting with Nesli and the Development Bank of Turkey (TKB) this month to negotiate an implementation plan for commercialization that will include decisions on key areas such as government assistance, corporate and organizational structure and business planning.

“Dyesol has been working closely with Turkish parties for a number of years and it is gratifying to see our common interests captured in an agreement,” said Dyesol Director Gordon Thompson. “Further, it is very encouraging to have Turkish government interest to help bear the financial risk of development and commercialization.”

Dyesol described Turkey’s DSC PV market as highly prospective for the establishment of a PV manufacturing facility, citing the country’s substantial energy deficit, attractive GDP growth, competitive labor costs and supportive government assistance and energy policy.

Perovskite cells and the problem of stability

The development of perovskite solar cells has been a remarkable success story in recent years. In a relative short time, perovskite cell manufacturers have been able to raise their efficiencies well above the conventional dye-sensitized solar cell and 20% is within reach. However, the major challenge is still to produce cells on a large area and, more importantly, in a stable manner.

The perovskite cells produced in research laboratories last 12 to 18 months at the most. Researchers have expressed confidence in the past that they can solve the problem, but that will take time. It should therefore interesting to learn more about the technology Dyesol describes as "revolutionary" – that is, if the company indeed has the stability problems under control.

Michael Fuhs contributed to this article.