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Development of a new method to produce high efficiency solar concentrators based on polymer casted directly on glass

Final Report Summary - POLYGLASS (Development of a new method to produce high efficiency solar concentrators based on polymer casted directly on glass)

The idea of POLYGLASS is to enable the realisation of a polymer-on-glass micro prism lens that will allow CPV modules to generate 5 % more power. The developed product will be utilised to improve the efficiency of solar collectors and will be fine tuned for secondary market applications for better concentration and control of the light sources.

With the POLYGLASS project, consortia has developed a prototype production method for manufacturing of optical lenses with micro structured surface with extreme precision, sharp angle, and particularly thin optical patterns allowing a high-accuracy control of the light.

The technology is constructed to contribute to the fast growing market for solar collector systems and to satisfy the demand for cost effective components. Moreover, POLYGLASS will increase the European competitiveness on the global scale by offering a flexible manufacturing method of micro prisms to suite individual demands on the shape and size of the optical panel cost effectively.

POLYGLASS consortium was set to deliver a new competitive product with increased generation of solar power, prolonged product life time, reduced installation costs, requiring minimal maintenance, and having reduced production costs significantly.

POLYGLASS is well on the way achieving its strategic objectives:

- to offer a product with improved efficiency of concentrator at a very competitive price,
- to enable for large scale installations,
- to offer a new innovative material for solar applications for electrical current generation, electrolysis applications as well as application for intelligent lighting solutions,
- to further develop the new, cost effective production method,
- to increase the competitiveness of European SMEs world wide.

The consortia has achieved the overall technological aim to construct a prototype of complete CPV module based on polymer-on-glass Fresnel optics coupled with new emerging nanostructure PV cells, with an envelope made from polymer.

Project context and objectives:

Throughout the course of POLYGLASS project, we have successfully acquired understanding of the necessary and required scientific knowledge and selected the materials best suited for CPV application.

We have developed a polymer to suite our purpose and that works finely in our manufacturing process, moreover, we have managed to make some improvements in formulation based on the trial results at the testing and validation phase. We have completed our first production tool and designed the manufacturing process so that we have gained a solid proof of its scalability. We have constructed a complete module prototype and subjected it to industry standard IEC 62108 tests that confirmed its suitability for CPV application. Moreover, the prototype has been exposed to day light and showed good performance in generating electrical current under normal conditions. Lastly, we have learned a lot about the interplay of various materials, components and process conditions allowing us to work further with fine-tuning the final product.

Valuable contribution to the project work was made by Kaleido Technology ApS, TWI Ltd., Institute for Product Development (IPU), National Renewable Energy Centre (Cener), Plasdan M?quinas para Pl?sticos Lda, Sunflake A/S and DKI Plast A/S (coordinator). The consortia also wishes to thank our suppliers and organisations that contributed to our developments with their knowledge and resources, and express our gratitude to the European Community?s Seventh Framework Programme for co-funding of POLYGLASS research and technological development.

Project results:

The POLYGLASS project was not only successful in terms of proving its potential to become a new state-of-the-art CPV technology, but also made valuable contribution to production processes and science at the component level, giving a possibility of horizontal market penetration through licensing agreements, economisation of know-how and spin-off applications.

NanoWire PV cell technology

A patent application for the nanostructure growth method to be utilised in nano-wire multijunction CPV cells was submitted by SunFlake.

Adhesion between polymer and glass

The project achieved excellent results in adhesion between the polymer and the glass that has a great potential in applications where polymer and glass comes into interplay.

Master mold replication process

We have also achieved moving the manufacturing of the custom-designed master molds from 'economy of scope' to 'economy of scale' by developing an efficient and cost effective master replication process.

Flexible and scalable production process

Moreover, our parqueting techniques of the master mold replicas in a production tool allows tight interchange between the patterns and works as an easy puzzle when a need for quick and cost effective repair occurs - there is no need to change the tool, but rather change the elements or replicas where quality has diminished.

Secondary market applications for micro prism technology

Throughout the course of the project, the POLYGLASS product has opened several new market opportunities. Our polymer-on-glass micro prism technology can be applied to other CPV modules to suite their demand for optical performance; Moreover, it gained interest from lighting industry for smart lighting and architectural lighting applications. POLYGLASS is in close collabouration with interested partners and will pursue different routes for product application.

Complementary market application for the POLYGLASS CPV module

As a complete module, POLYGLASS will continue its development and readiness for the market in a separate collabourative project for utilisation of solar energy for electrolysis plant.

The SMEs involved in the POLYGLASS project are:

- DKI Plast A/S, Denmark
- Kaleido Technology ApS, Denmark
- Centro Nacional de Energias Renovables, Spain
- Plasdan Maquinas Para Pl?sticos Limitada, Portugal
- Sunflake A/S, Denmark.

The RTDs involved in the POLYGLASS project are:

- TWI Ltd., U.K.
- Institute for Product Development (IPU), Denmark.

The project coordinator contact details are:

Milda Lapkaite
DKI Plast A/S
Erhvervsparken 7
DK-4621 Gadstrup
Denmark
Tel: +45-(0)46-191515
Fax: +45-(0)46-19 0377
E-mail: cen@dkiplast.dk

Project website: http://www.POLYGLASS-fp7.eu

Potential impact:

The consortium of the POLYGLASS project has allocated considerable attention to the dissemination and exploitation activities during the course of the project and beyond. Therefore, the project had an aim at both creating interest and awareness, as well as promoting the results and research of the POLYGLASS project. During the POLYGLASS project life-time, the project partners promoted and encouraged research on the POLYGLASS topic, targeting European and international companies and research centres, as well as created interest in the general public.

It was general impression in POLYGLASS consortia that more thorough plan for dissemination was not needed as all project beneficiaries are best-in-class and well acknowledged with their field of expertise and the way of reaching the audience within their field of interest.

Since POLYGLASS has achieved proof-of-concept stage rather than product development, the project results need to be disseminated consciously not to give a way to infringement of background and foreground knowledge before a protective action is taken. Each beneficiary shall consult with the owner of project result before it is disseminated to third parties.

The protection of product results is the responsibility of the beneficiary owning them, and other project SME and OTH have exclusive rights to licensing and distribution.

The next step with innovation related activities is to further develop a more focused dissemination and use plan, considering the newest market figures and trends as well as new, more developed, project plans for POLYGLASS commercialisation.