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Coordination Action towards stable and low-cost organic solar cell technologies and their application

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A more coherent approach to organic solar cells

The research and development of solar cells based on organic layers has moved forward by leaps and bounds in recent years. A new 'European organic PV technology roadmap' is helping to show the way towards the more rapid development of organic solar cells.

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Organic solar cells are made by sandwiching layers of organic electronic materials between metallic conductors. These innovative devices are better in many ways than existing non-organic types. For example, the plastics used in organic solar cells have low production costs in high volumes. Combined with the flexibility of organic molecules, this makes organic solar cells potentially cost effective for photovoltaic (PV) applications. On the other hand, organic PV cells have low efficiency, low stability and low strength compared to inorganic PV cells. Researchers believe that in order to make a real impact on the PV market, further improvements in these areas are required. The EU-funded ORGAPVNET aimed to lay the groundwork for these improvements by establishing a common understanding of future organic PV investments and strategies. ORGAPVNET applied an interdisciplinary approach, combining solid-state physics, chemistry and materials science, and involved a number of leading institutions and industrial partners. Specific project aims included stimulating the restructuring of the research community so as to enhance technological uptake, and establishing closer cooperation between existing organisations. It also addressed socioeconomic and financial issues and worked to develop future scenarios for new technological innovations and their application. %ORGAPVNET achieved its aims through meetings, workshops and international symposia, and it set up a project-related website. Input from market and academic participants contributed to the synthesis of the 'European organic PV technology roadmap'. As organic solar cells continue to attract attention with regard to achieving low-cost solar energy conversion, ORGAPVNET is helping to strengthen ties between researchers and market players. This will ultimately benefit users and society as a whole.

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