ADECELL - The future of solar cells with improved light management
To be competitive in the power market, the energy obtained from photovoltaic cells should currently only cost 0.5 euros/ kWp. However, the price is actually many times higher.
The aim of the project was therefore to increase the efficiency of photovoltaic cells and modules by optimizing their surface structure to minimize losses resulting from the shade created by the front metallization. The micro structuring allowed more light to be collected in the cell, thereby increasing its efficiency. At the same time, another objective was to reduce the cost of manufacturing the embossing tools needed to create this micro structure.
The result was a very promising, low-cost technology compared with conventional embossing tool manufacturing methods. A CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique & aux Energies Alternatives) research group developed a ceramic and polymer film, respectively, for the innovative embossing tools. The film was micro-structured step by step by different embossing tools until the desired surface is achieved. Finally, a powder injection molding technique from the French market leader in the field, Alliance-MIM, was applied. This concept is known as “in-mold labelling” technology. After debinding and sintering, the 3D embossing tool was used to structure the solar cells’ surface.
The research team at the TU Wien optimized the embossing tool numerically, besides developing a suitable patterning for the solar cell or the modules to improve overall light management.
0.1 percent increase sales significantly
The Austrian photovoltaic company Blue Chip Energy implemented the technology to improve the light management in the solar cell developed by the TU Wien. Efficiency increased due to the structuring of the thin layer over the metallization of the front side of the PV cells and a new micro structuring at the rear of the modules.
With the help of the adaptive embossing at the front and at the back, even 0.1 % more efficient solar cells allowed the company to boost its sales by half a million euros per year at the time. Demand from the European market for this new generation of more efficient solar cells in conjunction with reducing production costs amounts to an estimated 15 million euros per year. The innovative technology can also be used to manufacture flexible embossing tools to produce surface structured precision parts, for example for the watchmaking industry.
Other Consortium Partners
- Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique & aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), France
- Alliance MIM, France
- Blue Chip Energy (BCE), Austria