14 PhDs in one network
The network consists of five universities, one research organisation and two companies located in Denmark, Italy, Austria, France and Spain. Together, they will work on solving some of the current challenges that are faced in the development of organic energy devices such as organic solar cells.
The network has been granted funds for 14 PhD student, which will investigate different aspects of organic based energy devices in order to improve the state-of-the-art technology in the field. This is ensured by e.g. improving the efficiency and lifetime of organic solar cells, and this will be the focus of two of the PhD projects hosted at NanoSYD at the University of Southern Denmark. The cooperation also includes the Danish company Danfoss, which will have a special focus on lifetime tests of larger solar cell systems.
Paper-thin organic solar cells create new design opportunities
The new types of solar cells are based on organic energy technology and manufactured from carbon based materials, while the current manufacturing methods are based on silicon. The organic materials are cheaper than silicon, less material is needed for production and the cost of production is lower because the solar cells can be produced at lower temperatures.
Being both paper-thin and flexible, the new solar cells open up new possibilities in relation to use and design where Denmark is already a frontrunner:
- “Given that we can develop very thin and partly transparent solar cells in different colors, it opens up new design possibilities. For instance, we can construct solar cells for windows that absorb part of the light spectrum and use it to generate energy, while the remaining light can pass through. It holds potential to produce green energy in a cheaper way as well as expand solar cells to many more areas,” said Morten Madsen, lecturer at University of Southern Denmark.
Before the new solar cells can be released to the market, a number of challenges still need to be overcome. These include development and optimization of new methods and processes, so larger solar cells can reach the same efficiency levels as those produced in the laboratory.