Researchers from IKERLAN-IK4 have developed a laboratory-scale photovoltaic panel with exclusively organic technology.
Thanks to this semitransparent design, it is possible to have access to the individual components of the module which allows the identification and replacement -if necessary– of singles diodes without modifying the operation of the module.
Its simplicity allows for an easy integration in both outdoor and indoor applications.
The module, entirely fabricated at IKERLAN, is 30×30mm and monolithically connects 16 minicells of 9 mm2. The power conversion efficiency is over 2% and shows an open circuit voltage of around 7 Volts.
Current research about organic materials for photovoltaic cells tries to circumvent the problems with silicon, most of all, its high price. The photoelectric panel made by the research team from the Ikerlan-IK4 technological center in Spain has met expectations. This panel was manufactured with plastic materials – known as organic polymers – the production of which was carried out in chemical laboratories and, thus, their availability practically infinite.
But, without doubt, what has made the most impact is their appearance and design, it being possible to make them in different colors and involving a fine coating of plastic that can be deposited on almost any kind of surface, whether rigid or flexible. The versatility and simplicity of the manufacturing processes and the low cost of this technology make the fields of application limited only by the imagination of the researchers and industrial promoters. The sector benefiting most could be that of construction, given that this technology enables the manufacture of semitransparent windows or photoelectric curtains which allow certain passage of light to the interior and, at the same time, convert part of this solar energy into electricity.
Ikerlan-IK4 launched their activity in this field two years ago and the results are promising. Recently, photoelectric conversion efficiencies were measured as being above 4% in photoelectric cells manufactured at Ikerlan’s own laboratories with solar simulators officially approved at photoelectric panel specification centers unconnected to Ikerlan.
Ikerlan is currently working on alternative designs to produce larger sized panels which can be of use in various applications, from small panels to replace batteries in portable electronic devices to large modules for installing in roofs and walls, without visual impact and respecting the architectural aesthetics of the building and its surroundings.