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Organic photovoltaic windows in three years


Research partners including Centre for Process Innovation at prototype stage

The Centre for Process Innovation is working with solar photovoltaic glass manufacturer Polysolar and materials developer Merck to produce transparent photovoltaic (BIPV) windows that can generate power and control temperature.

The dual-purpose panels will be offered as an energy efficient solution to tackle demand in the construction industry for zero carbon buildings and decrease building energy expenses. The solar glazing panels being developed will fit standard framing for windows, skylights and roofing and be on the market within the next three years.

The product is at the prototype stage while Merck refines its recently introduced semi-transparent grey-coloured lisicon formulation, a key component in the project. Further work will be done to develop the lightweight and low cost organic photovoltaic (OPV) material from prototype scale to “the manufacturing volumes and performance characteristics that industry adoption requires”.

The CPI said: “The project is significantly advancing the development of photovoltaics not only for building integration, delivering unique characteristics such as transparency, aesthetics, colour and base material, but also in photovoltaic production more generally, enabling cost effective small scale localise batch processing of photovoltaics through printing and widening the performance range of PV for situations such as low light suitability, or specific wavelength capture.”

Development work will also focus on ‘encapsulation, electrical design and the manufacturing processes’.

Dave Barwick, principal scientist at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), said: “The output of the project will be to produce large-scale organic photovoltaic devices using sustainable, low-cost manufacturing processes. Once concluded, the project will provide the industry with the required lifetimes, dimensions and price points needed to evaluate how to take this emerging technology to market.”

Brian Daniels, head of the Advanced Technologies business unit at Merck, said: “We are excited to be part of this important project. This presents a unique opportunity to further develop the commercial use of grey OPV modules and to drive more widespread adoption of building integrated photovoltaics”.

Hamish Watson of Polysolar said: “Modern architecture faces a dilemma of wishing to maximise natural light delivery and reduce building energy consumption.

“With our OPV glazing, we deal with these conflicts while also generating carbon-free renewable energy, thus enabling buildings of the future to be truly zero carbon.”

The project, entitled “Power Generating and Energy Saving Windows”, is funded by Innovate UK. The collaboration is also bringing together key players in the supply chain and will provide linkage in terms of infrastructure and expertise to make this technology reach the mass market.


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