New EU project to improve OPV efficiency and lifetimes

A new EU-funded research project aims to speed the development of more efficient and versatile solar cells. Comprising ten European universities, companies and organizations, the MUJULIMA project is targeting cost-efficient organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells that enable module efficiencies above 15% and lifetimes of over 10 years. In particular, the partners will focus on developing new high-performance materials and improved light management for multi-junction OPVs.

"To meet growing demand for energy while addressing environmental concerns, the world needs a greener mix of energy sources. Solar power will play a key role in that mix. Lightweight, with huge freedom in color, substrate and design, and compatible with high-throughput production processes, OPVs promise cost-competitive, versatile solar panels that look attractive and can be integrated directly into construction and automotive components. Through the MUJULIMA project, we aim to bring multi-junction OPVs up to the performance and durability levels required for commercial applications," said project coordinator Jan Gilot of Holst Centre/TNO.

To achieve this, the program has three key objectives. Firstly, the design and synthesis of innovative photoactive and interlayer materials for creating multi-junction OPVs. Secondly, developing up- and down-converter materials and optimized nanostructure arrangements to maximize the use of the incident light. Finally, improving the outdoor performance of existing encapsulation methods and finding correlations between indoor accelerated testing protocols and outdoor lifetimes.

Moreover, the project will focus on solution-based manufacturing processes, particularly inkjet printing methods which allow solar cells to be produced in any shape imaginable. The project will demonstrate its achievements in three applications: small, indoor OPVs for smart home devices, medium-sized panels for urban furniture and a large, flexible "solar roof" for commercial buses.

Funded through the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the MUJULIMA project will run until December 31, 2016. For more information, please go to www.mujulima.eu

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