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Content archived on 2024-05-14

Dye photovoltaic cells for indoor applications


The aim of this proposal is the technological development of dye photovoltaic cells, recently invented by the Swiss Institute of Technology (EPFL), from today's laboratory stage to highly reliable and reproducible products and to become producible by an industrially feasible manufacturing process. Dye PV cells will be optimized for indoor applications where laboratory cells have already shown promising I-V and stability performance. Through such applications, this new thin-film PV technology may be introduced to the market place even before the turn of the century, create new jobs in Europe and, ultimately, smooth the way for the technically more demanding outdoor applications. The high economical and ecological interest of such an approach relies on the increasing importance of stand-alone indoor power systems with a market portential in the order of 1 billion modules per year and the replacement of non-rechargeable batteries by a more sustainable technology. The new PV technology will directly challenge the Japanese domination in the field of amorphous silicon cells.
Specifically, dye PV cells will be designed for the fast growing market of electronic price labels in retail stores that fulfil the specifications of the end user with regard to power/size ratio, costs and mechanical requirements. Dye PV cells have the potential to offer more than twice the power output of commercial amorphous silicon cells of a given size and to be produced at relatively low costs. The calculation of cost prices of industrially produced raw materials and dye PV cell manufacturing will be a principle objective for the industrial partners. A pilot line for assembling up to 1 mio. PV modules (ca. 2.5 V) per year will be designed, allowing for a complete estimation of production costs.
In order to achieve the goals of the present proposal within the planned 24 months, a consortium of academic (EPFL, University of Uppsala) and institutional R&D laboratories (ECN, IVF), a large chemical manufacturer (DSM)t a specialist on glass/polymer and other polymer film based compounds (L.P.M.) a manufacturer of electrochemical storage devices (Leclanche) and an and user (Pricer) producing electronic price labels have joined forces. The RTD programme is subdivided in nine well-defined tasks, including PV cell specification, first prototype preparation, optimization for the end user's requirements, characterization, final cell preparation to ultimately the design of a pilot production line and testing of the final dye PV cells in two retail stores.

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Westerduinweg 3

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Participants (7)