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Boost Of Organic Solar Technology for European Radiance

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BOOSTER (Boost Of Organic Solar Technology for European Radiance)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2022-02-28

The BOOSTER project targets the deployment of organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology to the building applied photovoltaic (BAPV) market. Manufacturing OPV modules via printing techniques features a low energy-payback-time (EPBT) and uses resources that are abundant, easily accessible and non-toxic. Additionally, OPV demonstrates properties (flexibility, lightweight) that make it easily suitable for BAPV. Recently, the technology benefited from a rapid progress of performances with development of advanced materials. BOOSTER aims at bringing the OPV technology to a TRL 7 by increasing efficiency, lifetime together with optimizing costs and lowering carbon footprint. BOOSTER will make a significant contribution to the technological development of thin film OPV modules through:
• Cost reduction of the innovative thin film devices, lowering the costs of the innovative thin film device though the use of cheaper and more efficient raw materials and their optimized industrial production (reduce the current costs of OPV modules from 270 €/m2 to 90 €/m2)
• Environmental impact and preliminary life-cycle assessment (LCA). In BOOSTER, the LCA evaluates not only the EPBT but also the environmental impacts
• Significantly increased efficiency, stability, device lifetime (> 35 years) and performance. With the implementation of high-performance materials the target is to increase more than 3 times the efficiency at module level (from 5% to 15%) of commercially printed OPV modules
• Novel PV applications and new routes for strengthening the EU PV manufacturing industry. To reach additional sectors, the project will organize a competition on novel applications for the next generation thin-film OPV.
The project started with technical and product specifications in WP1, defined for two OPV demonstrators (Ready-to-stick OPV demonstrator and textile OPV demonstrator). Requirement for materials were proposed as well as needed specifications for multifunctional OPV frontsheet and backsheet. Product requirements and design for both demonstrators were specified.
Follow-up activities continued in WP2 with the research work to:
• Design new and optimized NFAs based on existing structures Y6 and IDTBR,
• Design new charge transport layer compatible with NFAs.
New NFAs (Non-Fullerene Acceptors) were designed, synthetised and characterized keeping in mind objectives of production easiness, compatibility with industrial processes and cost reduction. Good results were obtained on certain characteristics such as energy levels, solubility in industrially compatible solvents and optimization of molecular weight. An NFA candidate suiting to all our specifications could not be selected yet and this task is still in progress. Work has been carried out regarding optimization of charge transport layer (ETL and HTL). Impact on initial performances and ageing of different compositions and of different layer thickness were studied. One ETL was selected as best performing and work still needed to be carried out regarding HTL.
The BOOSTER work done in WP3 on the frontsheet aimed to increase OPV film protection and add new functionality and reduce production costs. Several films were produced using a specific machine capable to incorporate nanoparticles at different concentration inside PET films. Good results were obtained on film alone but more iteration on film production will be made to have a good compatibility with OPV films.
Within WP4 work started on upscale of materials production, optimizing R2R OPV module production. A new module production strategy could be designed relying on late-stage customization through laser printing. PCE of corresponding OPV module were then measured.
Within WP6 first calculations on LCA and carbon payback time were already made and based on feedback from all partners, global warming potential of 1 kg of material needed for BOOSTER OPV production was quantified. Iterations will be made in the forthcoming month based on selected materials and architecture.
Currently the work is focused on the finalization of material development (mainly active materials and frontsheet). Some interesting results could be obtained related to industrial-friendly polymer synthesis, study on new materials such as charge transport layer and frontsheet could be initiated and the poor results obtained so far could be explained. Work related to LCA and industrialization are currently on-going.
Significant progress has been made in terms of the following objectives:
• Optimize the upscaled production of Non-Fullerene acceptor (NFA). Innovative patented production process with non-toxic intermediates and no rare earth elements demonstrating PCE of OPV cell superior to 17 %.
A lot of work has been done by BOOSTER partners in order to design, synthetise and characterize new NFA leading to identification of 4 structures of interest.
• To optimize the synthesis process of printable non-toxic charge transport layer materials (ETL and HTL), using industrial scale continuous reactor for nanoparticles synthesis compatible with NFAs.
Work on ETL optimization permits us to provide, characterize and test 4 different materials. Focus on initial performance and stability could show the most promising candidate and allows us to reach BOOSTER requirements. Work on HTL compatible with an inverted OPV cell design permits us to identify the most suitable HTL to meet required compatibility with the BOOSTER project.
• To develop multifunctional frontsheet demonstrating gas permeation barrier (< 5.10-4 g/(m²d) at 38°C/90% r.h.) UV-protection (cut-off wavelength > 380 nm), and light-management (> 20% scattered transmission) into a single thin-film coated polyester film with an industrial manufacturing cost potential of <10 €/m² (50% reduction to the state-of-the-art) after project conclusion. The frontsheet will achieve a durability of 3500 h in a damp heat test and 2000 hrs in a QUV test to ensure 35 years module lifetime under real outdoor conditions.
Extensive work has been done in order to develop a new multifunctional frontsheet. Ageing tests of those films were made and showed promising results. During the forthcoming months, work will be focused on adding a light scattering management system in PCS film that do not cause degradation of performance.
• To setup roll to roll (R2R) manufacturing of OPV modules to demonstrate 15% of efficiency at industrial scale. Demonstration of a 35 years lifetime assessed with accelerated ageing tests that includes innovative procedures using concentrated sunlight.
Work has been done in order to prepare the industrial scale up production of OPV. Study on material requirement has been made and preliminary work on process optimization with the aim of cost reduction. In next months, work will be done in order to transfer the WP2 optimized architecture and WP3 materials in R2R process.
• To perform a Life Cycle Assessment: carbon payback time will be assessed with the objective to show a carbon payback time < 3 months for R2R printed new generation OPV devices, end of life of product and recyclability will be studied, paying attention to find a recyclability way for aluminium back sheet.
Work has been focused on quantifying global warming potential for product based on 1kg of material needed for BOOSTER OPV fabrication. In the next months, calculation based on selected architecture and materials developed during the project will be made.

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