Carbon Nanomaterials-based composites for hybrid organic photovoltaic devices
Novel photovoltaic (PV) technologies are actively being investigated and evaluated as approaches to a more environmental friendly energy supply in many countries. One of the driving forces is the objective to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and the dependency on importing fossil energy resources from politically unstable regions. Global solar strategies include the rapid implementation of existing mature PV technologies but also the development and improvement of novel PV approaches such as organic PV (OPV) and DSSCs together with new efficient strategies for energy storage and distribution to make electric power, deriving from PVs, available whenever and wherever it is needed. The so-called 1st generation of solar cells based on e.g. bulk crystalline and polycrystalline Si still dominate the PV market. However, 2nd generation solar cells mainly consisting of thin film solar cells based on CdTe, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and amorphous Si today represent ca. 25% in market share worldwide. While for 1stand 2nd generation solar cells commercial solar panels are available with decent power conversion efficiencies (PCEs) and lifetimes, emerging 3rd generation solar cells such as OPV and DSSCs technologies are still in the development phase. However, the presence of OPV components in the consumer marketplace is projected to increase due to the cheap cost of organic materials. Several key advantages are available through the use of OPV, notably the flexibility and the lightweight. Some commercially available products have recently entered the market such as e.g. solar bags representing niche products, which are so far not suitable for competing with traditional large scale applications of existing solar panels. In this context, improving the OPV efficiency and performance by adding CNMs such as CNTs and Graphene is a promising approach. Significant technological advances are expected, which will be of great interest to new markets for novel electronic and photonic devices. However, the proposed partnership mainly focuses on proof-of-principle and elaborating prototype devices. The emergent nature of this field of technology mandates that the IP for this project will be covered solely by patents. The expected subsequent steps will consist in licensing of the patent to interest other companies, with the goal to commercialize devices based on our prototypes. On the other hand, this project will be the starting point for a longer term partnership in a larger field, namely the elaboration of advanced materials for Energy applications.