Belectric and Heraeus cozy up on OPV development


German engineering group Heraeus has collaborated with solar plant developer and OPV producer Belectric to demonstrate their work on next-generation organic photovoltaics (OPV) at the International EXPO in Milan, Italy.

The two companies demonstrated the ability of OPV products to be produced in various colors and shapes at the German Pavilion of the show, creating what onlookers have called a futuristic display that could answer the demands of architects hoping to incorporate building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) into their designs.

The role of Heraeus has been to work with Germany’s Belectric on the development of innovative technology via the supply of certain components, including Clevios conductive polymer materials that are based on PEDOT:PSS to provide the hole-transport layer. Heraeus also helped to develop low temperature SOL silver pastes to serve as the OPV electrode.

Heraeus produces both materials via a roll-to-roll coating and printing process, which is a low-cost method of achieving high throughput, the company said. Belectric confirmed that the ultimate aim is to improve the viability of OPV using next-gen techniques such as wet-coating manufacturing.

"Open innovation approaches, like the joint-development effort together with Heraeus, is part of our R&D strategy," said Belectric OPV head of R&D Andreas Distler. "In order to bring OPV technology to its best, it is important that a holistic development approach is applied throughout the whole device architecture and the manufacturing process."

According to Heraeus, such an approach delivers improved potential for scalability of printed OPV. "Partnerships with technology leaders such as Belectric, who provide unlimited shapes, colors and even flexibility, is an entirely new dimension for PV technology," said Heraeus new businesses manager Armin Sautter. "Belectric OPV’s vision for PV is consistent with ours – using technologys and innovation to achieve sustainable green energy."