NanoPhoSolar aims to develop nanophosphor down converting material which will be incorporated into coatings and polymer films for integration into new solar modules and retrofit of existing solar modules. Through creating down-converter materials significantly increase the solar cell efficiency and lifetime of conventional technologies (e.g. silicon based, CIGS and CdTe) as well as emerging technologies such as dye sensitized solar cells.
The NanoPhoSolar project will overcome the limitations relating to efficiency and performance range of solar cells by developing nanophosphor down converting materials which are capable of absorbing UV and short wavelength visible light and re-emitting in the more useful longer wavelength visible spectrum. In effect the solar cell will be able to harvest more of the energy from the sunlight and thus increase the cell efficiency. In addition, the solar module will experience less of the damaging sections of light (high energy UV rays), through the down conversion to visible light, thus increasing module lifetime.
By doing this, the PV system created will offer greatly improved photovoltaic performance due to capture of a larger proportion of the incident visible spectrum. This will lead to significant economic and societal benefits to consumers and manufacturers.
The need for enabling technology
Due to the growing environmental concerns regarding fossil fuel generation & security of supply of energy there has been increasing focus upon the development of cleaner renewable energy technologies. Solar cell technologies can provide cleaner energy but due to economic pressures on module prices this has caused massive losses to module producers and continues to cause many bankruptcies in the field. Additionally, the cost to complete technology development and commercialization is high and funding possibilities have become rare. This represents a significant threat to SMEs operating within the photovoltaic sector.
NanoPhoSolar aims to overcome these challenges by providing manufacturers with more efficient solar modules and providing installers of solar modules with a means to increase the efficiency of existing installed systems.
The Paint Research Association (PRA) is working with a Consortium of European SME-Associations (Bulgarian Photovoltaic Association, Femete and Renewable Energy Association) and SME Partners (Hanita Coatings, 3G Solar, Eurofilms, Managess and Quality Additives), leading European RTD partners (Tecnalia, AIDO and Intrinsiq Materials) with funding (total grant secured from the EC of ~€1.9 m) from the European Commission under the Framework Programme Seven (from the Research Executive Agency).
The project began on the 1st January 2013 and will run for three years til December 2015.