At IMO-IMOMEC, research is being conducted into various innovative classes of printable solar cells, including organic solar cells, Grätzel and hybrid solar cells and CIGS. These classes of solar cells have the potential to be applied to large surfaces through low cost production techniques such as film casting, inktjet printing, spray coating and screen printing. In particular in the domain of solar cells, it is known that traditional solar cells require expensive processing techniques and high temperature steps during the production process. By moving towards printable solar cells it is expected to reduce production costs and ultimately the cost per kWh.
Due to the nature of photovoltaic energy conversion, this application requires a large area in order to obtain sufficient energy generation. This makes large-area printing a main challenge towards the future commercialisation of these novel generations of solar cells. For thin-film solar cells, such as organic solar cells with a thickness between 100 nm and 300 nm, an additional challenge is to obtain a uniform thickness all over the solar cell area.
Special attention is being paid to appropriate ink formulation and rheology, control of nanomorphology, study of electro-optical and morphological properties with advanced characterisation techniques and to the reliability of these devices.