Heliatek raises bar for OPV efficiency to 13.2%

Dresden-based developer of organic PV materials Heliatek has set a new world record for organic PV conversion efficiency with its new OPV multi-junction cell.

In tests, the newly developed OPV cell reached 13.2% efficiency in direct sunlight conversion. This result has been independently confirmed and verified by Fraunhofer CSP and stretches Heliatek’s lead in this field.

Having set OPV efficiency benchmarks from 3% through to 13%, this is the first time Heliatek has broken past the 13% barrier on its way along the company’s roadmap towards 15% efficient organic solar cells.

Because the OPV cell can perform well in low light and high temperature conditions, a 13.2% conversion efficiency equates to between 16 to 17% efficiency of conventional solar cells under real world conditions, and this latest record-breaking achievement is, according to Heliatek CTO Martin Pfeiffer, a validation of the company’s use of vacuum deposition of small molecules on plastic films.

"This success is based on our chemical research for new organic absorber materials," said Pfeiffer. "Key to this success is the close cooperation of our physics and chemistry R&D teams, which leads to an optimal combination of the properties of this new solar cell design."

The cell is a mult-junction cell that has three different absorbers, each charged with the task of converting green, red or near-infrared light on wavelength range 450 to 950 nm into electricity. By utilizing Heliatek’s patented HeliaFilm technology, this type of cell can be produced at scale and applied easily to distributed solar applications across the globe.

Fraunhofer CSP, based in Halle, Germany, confirmed the OPV cell’s performance in tests that simulated AM 1.5 illumination.