Organic solar cells for curved surfaces
Organic solar cells are a relatively new technology with great development potential. In contrast to crystalline solar cells, they are significantly thinner, save material and are cost-effective. Theoretically, they can be produced in any shape, even as flexible, bendable films, which opens up numerous new application possibilities for photovoltaics. However, a major disadvantage of organic solar cells is their low efficiency compared to crystalline solar cells.
Researchers at the Riken Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan have now succeeded in laminating organic solar cells to curved surfaces with the aid of heat-shrinking polymers achieving high efficiencies in the process, as presented in a study published in the scientific journal "Advanced Materials". The process involves greatly reducing the surface area of an extremely thin and therefore flexible polymer film: "Although we use rigid materials like metals and plastics, they are three times thinner than a grocery bag and can bend a lot without breaking," said Steven Rich, one of the authors. (pv-magazine)
The heat-shrinkable films form tiny wrinkles when applied to the polymer films. By controlling the size of these wrinkled structures, the research team has been able to build shrinkable touch sensors and prefabricated organic solar cells that can be applied to curved surfaces. According to the scientists, the photonic properties of the folded structures created in this way improve the solar cells' absorption of sunlight. The efficiency of the solar modules can be increased by up to 17 percent in this way. The organic solar cells can thus be laminated onto different curved surfaces without any loss of performance and even absorb sunlight better than conventional cells on cloudy days.
pv-magazine, article by Emiliano Bellini (2/7/2022):
https://www.pv-magazine.de/2022/02/07/japanische-forscher-laminieren-organische-photovoltaik-auf-gekruemmte-oberflaechen/, accessed: 2/8/2022 at 9:15 a.m.
Solaranlage.eu, https://www.solaranlage.eu/photovoltaik/technik-komponenten/solarzellen/organische-solarzellen, accessed: 2/8/2022 at 1 p.m.