Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Printing the Right Solar Cell

24. Januar 2019, 15:25 Uhr   |  Paulina Würth

Printing the Right Solar Cell
© VioNetta |

Laboratory processes are to be replaced by digital printing processes that are suitable for industrial production.

In a new KIT project, perovskite-based solar cells are to be improved, and they are also to be produced on an industrial scale using 3D printing processes. But the German and Greek researchers are also planning more.

Perovskite semiconductors are currently among the most promising materials for highly efficient and inexpensive next-generation solar modules. Thin-film solar cells based on these perovskites already achieve efficiencies of more than 23 percent in the laboratory. However, the processes currently used to manufacture perovskite solar cells in research cannot be transferred to the industrial scale. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has therefore coordinated a project to investigate the technological feasibility of solar modules based on perovskite absorbers.

In the PRINTPERO (Printed Perovskite Modules for Building Integrated Photovoltaics) project, researchers and industrial partners from Germany and Greece are cooperating to develop digitally printed solar modules based on perovskite semiconductors that are not only highly efficient and stable, but also meet a wide range of architectural requirements for integration in buildings. They are working on prototypes that can be tailored in size and freely designed in shape and color. To achieve these goals, the participating scientists are using the potential of digital inkjet printing. They are also developing printable luminescent layers to create different color impressions and protect solar cells from harmful UV radiation (see photo).

Together with the project partners, the Karlsruhe researchers are also working on improving the stability of the perovskite solar cells, connecting several of these cells in series to form large-area solar modules, and encapsulating the modules to protect them from moisture and the resulting decay.

PRINTPERO includes the research institutions KIT and Technological Educational Institute of Western Greece as well as the solar industry companies SUNOVATION Produktion GmbH (Aschaffenburg) and Brite Hellas S.A. (Thessaloniki/Greece). The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the German-Greek cooperation project started in 2018 and scheduled to run for three years within the framework program research for sustainable development (FONA).

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