Advanced solar technologies
High Tech Industry

EnFoil | processing solar cells in roofs, on trucks, above crops

Roof tiles incorporating solar cells, so that the building produces energy. Trucks and trailers that no longer need a diesel engine to cool loads, but generate the energy themselves via solar foil on the roof. The global market for these applications is huge. EnFoil, a spin-off of TNO, imec and Hasselt University in Belgium, is launching the first products on the market and developing many more.

Using existing surface

Under the Solliance banner, both organizations have for years been researching the integration of solar cells into existing surfaces, while preserving their original function. For example, roofs, facades, windows, dikes, road surfaces, crash barriers, noise barriers and even cars generate sustainable energy. The conventional solar panel, typically flat, heavy and with fixed dimensions is replaced at EnFoil by a solar foil that is flexible, can be moulded into any shape, shock-resistant and lightweight.

Be a frontrunner with unique technology

The fact that size, shape and weight are no longer an obstacle to integrating solar cells in existing materials is fantastic, but also necessary to move the energy transition into a higher gear. The geopolitical situation also requires rapid sustainability of our energy supply. But there is also a positive reason for integrating solar film on existing surfaces. Using  this unique technology, the Netherlands and Belgium can become forerunners in development and application, which in turn leads to innovations, new activity and employment. This also makes us far less dependent on production in Asia. Producing close to home avoids having to ship solar panels across the world, which reduces pollution and saves transport costs. The energy mix in Europe is also cleaner, which further improves the CO2 footprint of solar panels.

Fast and large-scale production

EnFoil's solar foil is partly the result of the development of "mass customization", in other words being able to manufacture solar foil on a large scale in almost any desired size or at least in a variety of sizes not previously accessible at a competitive price. This gives an enormous boost to making the built environment more sustainable and offers unprecedented opportunities for companies. TNO and partners have built a pilot production line that brings new applications within reach. Tailor-made semi-finished products can be produced here rapidly in large numbers at low costs. That is also the strength of EnFoil: being able to supply various products for various markets quickly and on a large scale at a more competitive price than current solutions.

Billion dollar market

According to EnFoil's estimate, the integration of PV in existing building materials encompasses a market of millions of square metres and billions of euros. EnFoil supplies the semi-finished goods to companies that integrate them into their products and thus make them energy-producing. Examples include the roofing industry: private, commercial as well as industrial. Any new or refurbished roof could be completed using tiles or sandwich panels that produces energy. Build the roof and your power plant in one step! Extend the idea to the mobility space, or the greenhouses and orchards where you protect the goods from excess sun or the environment and produce electricity at the same time. Talks are underway with several major parties that have shown interest.

Interested? Get in touch with Rolph Segers!

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