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GreenSol: Cheaper, better and greener OPV cells

by IT on 04-07-2016
In a recent project called “GreenSol - Materials for green processing and their integration in low cost organic photovoltaic cells”, a team led by Ana Charas, from IT in Lisbon, is developing environment-friendly solvents, adequate for large-scale coating green processes in organic photovoltaic devices. This will eliminate toxic solvents from the devices cells fabrication process and simultaneously achieve both high device efficiencies and reduced costs, in comparison with the state-of-the-art polymer solar cells.

Polymer photovoltaics (OPVs) represent a third-generation photovoltaic (PV) technology holding a huge interest for enabling the use of low cost materials and fabrication processes, as roll-to-roll printing. In such devices, the active materials are organic compounds that can be used as inks producing lightweight and very thin layers (less than one micrometer thick) that can be deposited over flexible substrates. These features qualify OPVs for providing attractive solar energy conversion items, as curved and lightweight roofs or windows, and wearable personal electronics (e.g. clothes).

However, OPVs still face challenges to enter into the market; namely of devices lifetime and efficiency levels, now in the 8-10 % range, still below those for amorphous silicon, the inorganic counterpart.

Thus, ultimately the aim of GreenSol is to demonstrate OPV cells exhibiting efficiency levels sufficient for commercial applications (10 % or higher) while involving reduced fabrication costs, and eliminating toxic organic solvents from the cells fabrication process.