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Solliance aims to increase industrial partnerships next five years

Aug 2, 2016 10:40:23 AM. By: High Tech Campus

Solliance is running well. At the R&D center at High Tech Campus Eindhoven thin film solar technology is taken to the next level. Materials are being optimized, deposition processes refined. The transformation to mass production is being researched and tested. To further speed up development, Solliance aims to increase the number of industrial partners. Director, Huib van den Heuvel: “Main reason is to forge a direct link with the market.”

Proof factory

Solliance specializes in thin film photovoltaic technology (TFPV). Five years after the start, things are up and running at Solliance. Next to the initiators, the institute was able to interest TU/d, Hasselt University and Forschungszentrum Jülich to participate. In addition, a growing number of industrial partners has been joining the research. Van den Heuvel: “At this stage we have a well-functioning proof factory.” One of the eyecatchers at Solliance is the impressive roll-to-roll production line (designed and built together with a consortium of VDL ETG, Smit Thermal Solutions, Bosch Rexroth, JB Systems and Maan Technology). This R2R-line is capable of printing a solar cell structure to a thin strip of plastic or metal foil, in a similar fashion as a newspaper is processed. Van den Heuvel: "The game is to balance efficiency of the cell and production costs. You can imagine that roll-to-roll 'printing' of solar cells is an attractive manufacturing method for large volumes."

Real-life questions

Van den Heuvel: “In our densely populated part of the world, the future of solar cells lies in integration. It will soon be possible to equip the majority of our outdoor surfaces with photovoltaic material. Car roofs, facades and roofs of buildings, noise barriers, even windows will have a semi-transparent layer that generates energy from sunlight.” To contribute to this new future, Solliance aims to significantly expand its industrial partnerships the coming years. Van den Heuvel: “Consider this an instant call! By working closely with industrial partners, construction companies and architects, we can anticipate on the demand of the future. TFPV is potentially very flexible. Not just in terms of the material characteristics, but also in size. Within the same production line you can produce various solar cells for divers types of questions and with an unprecedented aesthetic quality.”

Ecosystem

Solliance has an outstanding position in the global TFPV technology market. The Australian company Dyesol for instance, approached the researchers from Eindhoven to optimize their promising thin-film material Perovskite and bring it to commercial maturity. And also Panasonic lays down research questions. Van den Heuvel: "Large and small players meet here. Our infrastructure is getting richer. For example we can offer accurate lifetime tests in the shortest possible time in the Solar Simulator with climate chamber of startup Eternal Sun. Participants are part of a network that brings them beyond their initial question! "

Campus

Solliance shares the networking philosophy with the Campus. Van den Heuvel: “Being part of the High Tech Campus Eindhoven ecosystem has added value. The Campus has a state-of-the-art infrastructure and you are literally surrounded by experts in numerous technical disciplines. The businesses here tend to work together easily and happily. They share research facilities and knowledge and - not least - the Campus reputation. As a joint hotspot it is easier to attract talent and business. And it is a place the “residents” of our international industrial partners like to visit. In the end innovation starts by meeting each other."
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