Heliatek Reaches Efficiency Record With 40% Transparent Organic Solar Cells

Heliatek GmbH Photo

Imagine being able to generate electricity from windows, façades and glass car roofs.   Thanks to one company’s innovation, that vision can soon be a reality.  Heliatek GmbH, a leading company in the production of organic solar film, has reached a new record in the efficiency of transparent solar cells. The latest development allows transparency levels up to 40% with an efficiency of over 7%. The company already holds the world record of 12% cell efficiency for opaque (non-transparent) organic solar cells.

This lab development underscores the company’s strategy to supply its transparent HeliaFilm™ to glass manufacturers for both building integration (BIPV) and car roofs. “The transparency of our products is at the core of our market approach. Our HeliaFilm™ is customized to meet our partners’ specific needs,” added Thibaud Le Séguillon, Heliatek CEO. “We are a component supplier and this component is a film which can combine transparency and energy generation. This unique combination widens our market potential.”

Heliatek GmbH 40% light transparent cell

Heliatek GmbH 40% light transparent cell

Both these application areas use tinted glass to reduce glare which can be done by applying a film, so changing the film to one that generates electricity as well is a drop-in for manufacturers. Using HeliaFilm™ in glass car roofs will not only generate energy, but will also allow the car manufacturers to claim Eco-innovation credits towards CO2 emission goals. Architectural glass panels and windows incorporating HeliaFilm™ enable electricity to be discretely generated on the outside envelope of a building.

The latest generation of organic solar cells with a 40% light transparency reaches an efficiency record of 7.2%. The measurement follows standard testing conditions using a white background. Heliatek thus succeeded in generating an optimal energy conversion for transparent HeliaFilm™. Currently, its opaque cells achieve 12% efficiency. 7.2% cells mirror the same efficiency, since the partial transparency allows the usage of only 60% of the light for the energy harvesting. Depending on the application, the balance between light let through and electricity generated can be adjusted. The production of transparent HeliaFilm™ is possible with the introduction of transparent conductive layers at the front- and back-side of the solar cells.

The production of HeliaFilm™ is based on small molecules (oligomers). Oligomers are deposited at low temperatures in a roll-to-roll vacuum process. Their selective absorption of the solar spectrum targets different colors and transparency to convert sunlight into electricity.

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