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Nanotechnology Report

Thin Film Photovoltaics and Batteries 2010-2020

Thin Film Photovoltaics and Batteries 2010-2020
Category: Electronics Published: Apr 2010 Pages: 250 View Contents
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Electronic copies include a five user licence. Contact andrew.stewart@nano.org.uk for more information.

This comprehensive report gives a thorough analysis of printed and thin film photovoltaics and batteries.

The report covers companies, research institutes and universities that are active in developing and commercialising thin film technologies for photovoltaics and batteries. Photovoltaic technologies covered include CIGS, CdTe DSSC, a-Si and organic photovoltaics. Learn how these technologies, each at a different stage of development and adoption, are driven forward by both government and leading companies in the field.

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Materials and devices are covered, as well as manufacturing techniques, focussing on various high speed printing technologies that can be utilised.

Silicon photocells are seen in many places but the technology is limited. Crystalline silicon will never give tightly rollable devices let alone transparent ones or even low cost power generation on flexible substrates. Fortunately there are many new alternatives. Proprietary nano-particle silicon printing processes are developed by companies such as Innovalight and Kovio and they promise many of the photovoltaic features that conventional silicon can never achieve. Also, new materials and deposition techniques promise high performance, lightweight flexible solar cells.

Amorphous silicon technologies also offer a thin film alternative at a lower cost but unfortunately lower efficiency. Technologies beyond silicon First Solar's technology, based on CdTe cells, is the first major success on non-silicon platforms. However, a lot of work on the next generation of PV is directed towards deposition onto low cost flexible substrates and ultimately common packaging materials.

Competing technologies include:

  • CIGS
  • DSSC
  • Organic PV
  • Q-Si

Several companies, universities and research institutes are hard at work in different stages of these technologies with large scale plants built across the globe. Printing Techniques: Adoption and commercialisation Along with other manufacturing techniques, printing (or printing-like) technologies are gradually being adopted (Nanosolar, G24 Innovations in the PV sector; Power Paper, Solicore and Thin battery technology in the batteries sector), as they can be considered to be some of the fastest, least expensive and highest volume manufacturing techniques. With printed electronics becoming more prevalent, there is an increasing need for power to supply them; printing is amenable to a large number of different types of devices with the possibility of integration (e.g. to provide onboard power etc.)

This report is vital for those wishing to understand the companies, technologies, challenges and forecasts of photovoltaics beyond crystalline silicon.

A thorough analysis of printed and thin film photovoltaics and batteries