VDL, Solliance Join Forces to Bring OPV to Market Readiness


Posted on May 22, 2013 @ 01:08 pm



VDL has become a partner in Solliance for the development of a new, completely integrated roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing line for the research and pilot production of organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules.

The development will take place within a consortium of several companies, among which Smit Ovens, supplying the drying furnaces for the R2R equipment, and Bosch Rexroth, responsible for the drive components. The partners will define and improve the specifications based on the experience gained during their cooperation. The pilot line will be built within the coming year. It will become operational at the new Solliance facility located at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. VDL will assume further business responsibilities in the commercialization of the manufacturing line.

OPVs are flexible solar cells made of light-active plastics and can be manufactured by cost-effective processes suitable for large-scale production. They may be less efficient than previous rigid solar cells based on silicon, but they offer the potential to be manufactured in large quantities, at low cost, and with low material quantities. They offer therefore advantages when used on large surfaces, for example on roofs and facades of industrial buildings.

Flexible solar cells are especially useful as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). The growing trend in the construction industry is to reduce the amount of energy used by buildings over their lifetime. The aim is to create energy-neutral and energy self-sufficient buildings. One way is to integrate renewable energy-generating technologies such as solar cells into the building envelope.

To further develop this innovative technology, new production processes have to be investigated. These new processes will lead to high-efficiency, low-cost and highly-stable OPV modules for a wide range of applications.

“VDL looks forward to team up with Solliance for this project,” said Huib van den Heuvel, general manager of VDL’s new unit VDL FLOW (Functional Layers On Web). “We are convinced that this cooperation will accelerate the market readiness of large area printed electronics through synergy between world class organizations in research, process development, equipment design, and manufacturing.”

“Solliance has the ambition to turn the Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen triangle (ELAT region) into a world player in thin film PV,” said Hein Willems, director of Solliance. “We can only realize this in close cooperation with the industry. That is why we are very pleased with the new company VDL FLOW. New businesses, more economic activities and more jobs in this region are important goals of Solliance.”

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