Imec and Solvay have developed an organic photovoltaic module touted to have a world-record efficiency of 5.5%. The companies have collaborated to develop an inverted bulk heterojunction architecture, which they used along with Polyera’s ActivInk semiconductor to achieve the record certified efficiency.
Organic photovoltaic module with a world-record certified efficiency of 5.5 percent
Optimum performance, including a longer lifetime, is essential for upscaling the manufacturing processes and making progress towards commercializing organic photovoltaic cells. When compared to inorganic photovoltaic cells, these cells are not so dependent on incoming light’s angle or its intensity. Organic photovoltaic cells are optically translucent, which allows them to be used on windows and facades.
The inverted bulk heterojunction architecture is designed for polymer-based solar cells. This feature improves the stability of the device and also optimizes the management of cell light. In 2011, imec had demonstrated the architecture with high efficiency. Further, the inverted bulk heterojunction solar cells were integrated into the module in a unique process that utilized 95% of the aperture area for generation of electricity. This led to development of the record 5.5% module efficiency on an aperture area of 16 cm². This is considered to be a world record.
Imec’s, R&D group leader of organic photovoltaics, Tom Aernouts, stated that the achievement was a significant progress in the endeavor towards upscaling organic solar cell technology to large-scale manufacture. The research will continue towards improving the lifetime and efficiency of organic solar cells.