Organic Photovoltaics

Project: Organic Photovoltaics for BiPV and greenhouse applications

PI: Derya Baran,  Iain McCulloch,  Frederic Laquai

Traditionally, solar photovoltaic panels are mounted onto the rooves of buildings, referred to as building-applied PV (BAPV). Incorporation of solar cells into other areas of a building, such as curtain walls, roof tiles, skylights, facades and railings, is known as building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). BIPV is currently a rapidly expanding market. Market analysts estimate a compound annual growth rate of 18,7% and a total of 5,4 GW installed worldwide between 2013 and 2019. 
PV modules based on crystalline silicon cells (c-Si), still predominant on the market (with conversion efficiencies of 15% for polycrystalline and 20% for monocrystalline silicon cells),1 are mostly rigid, opaque and flat. Such cells are not yet suitable for integration where high transparency is desired.2 On the other hand, amorphous silicon solar cells (a-Si) have currently reached, at best, laboratory efficiencies of 10.2%.3 However, this technology comprises an industrial process based on plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) which requires vacuum allowing semitransparency in the visible region Tvis = 40% with η = 3%.4
One of the unique properties of organic photovoltaics (OPV) is their semi-transparency and the ability to adjust the absorption window, by engineering the band gap of the absorber and flexibility. These characteristics lead to many new opportunities for applications in BIPV such as glass windows, greenhouses, architectural structures, etc.
Some key requirements to use OPV in building integrated windows as power generators are:
i) Transparency/visibility
ii) Processability
iii) Reliability
This project aims to combine the KSC efforts towards commercializing OPV in building integration and greenhouses; develop methods; and design prototype devices that can serve as power generators without hindering the existing glass function.5,6,7 

References:

1 Akinyele, D. O., Rayudu, R. K. & Nair, N. K. C. Global progress in photovoltaic technologies and the scenario of development of solar panel plant and module performance estimation − Application in Nigeria. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 48, 112-139, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2015.03.021 (2015).
2 Cannavale, A. et al. Building integration of semitransparent perovskite-based solar cells: Energy performance and visual comfort assessment. Applied Energy 194, 94-107, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.03.011 (2017).
3 Green, M. A., Emery, K., Hishikawa, Y., Warta, W. & Dunlop, E. D. Solar cell efficiency tables (Version 45). Progress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications 23, 1-9, doi:10.1002/pip.2573 (2015).
4 Saifullah, M., Gwak, J. & Yun, J. H. Comprehensive review on material requirements, present status, and future prospects for building-integrated semitransparent photovoltaics (BISTPV). Journal of Materials Chemistry A 4, 8512-8540, doi:10.1039/C6TA01016D (2016).
5 Jagadamma, L. K. et al. Solution-processable MoOx nanocrystals enable highly efficient reflective and semitransparent polymer solar cells. Nano Energy 28, 277-287, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2016.08.019 (2016).
6 Baran, D. et al. Reducing the efficiency–stability–cost gap of organic photovoltaics with highly efficient and stable small molecule acceptor ternary solar cells. Nature Materials 16, 363, doi:10.1038/nmat4797
https://www.nature.com/articles/nmat4797#supplementary-information (2016).
7 Gasparini, N. et al. Polymer:Nonfullerene Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells with Exceptionally Low Recombination Rates. Advanced Energy Materials 7, 1701561-n/a, doi:10.1002/aenm.201701561 (2017).


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