Our work

Mass customization labs: open innovation for integration of solar energy

Mass customization is a new pv manufacturing concept based on cleverly designed semi-finished products. TNO wants to use this concept to enable the production of a wide variety of affordable integrated solar energy end products. Together with partners, we are building a pilot production line that will demonstrate the industrial approach to create suchf semi-finished products. As a next step they can be flexibly integrated into all kinds of surfaces and objects, such as facades and cars. 

Want to know more?

Get in touch with Peter Toonssen

Contact

In our labs we develop this new mass customization technology and together with companies, we design innovative solar energy products. Customization, low production cost and integration are the key concepts here. This responds to the demand from industry to incorporate PV functionality in their own products and thus no longer be dependent on the standard solar panels.  

Shifting roles 

These developments open the way for new entrants to the market or for existing parties to open up new routes. For example, a construction company will in the near future be able to order complete roofs in which solar cells and all electronics have been incorporated invisibly or in a pattern of their choice. We also anticipate changes in the supply chain: new players will be able to supply semi-finished products that manufacturers of building components and prefabricated products can then integrate into their manufacturing process. 

All conceivable variations 

The pilot production line to be opened in Eindhoven in the autumn of 2021 has been designed by TNO and is being built together with partners from industry. It will be unique in the world: here we will make flexible semi-finished products with PV functionality, in all conceivable variations of size, shape and electrical power. In the first phase, we focus on three areas where a large part of the existing surface are can be used to produce solar energy: the building industry, the road and rail networks with hundreds of kilometres of noise barriers, and the automotive industry. Mass customization can lead the way that these applications become more large-scale and affordable. 

New industrial value chain 

The TNO pilot production line is in fact a pilot plant that serves as a blueprint for a new generation of factories that will in the future produce the wide variety of semi-finished products. In this way we are building a new industrial value chain in The Netherlands, in which our manufacturing, construction and installation sectors play an important role. Companies can make use of the open innovation environment realised by TNO in Eindhoven and in Petten. The facilities are equipped for both silicon and thin-film technology, and for the new high-efficiency solar cells, known as tandem technology

Prototyping, testing, analysis 

In the lab in Eindhoven there will be a production line that will produce solar foil with a maximum width of seventy centimetres and a length of several metres. Vacuum lamination will soon be replaced by roll lamination, which will remove the restriction on the length of the material. We want to demonstrate that future manufacturers will be able to supply these semi-finished products fully automatically in any required size, shape and electrical power. Their customers will thus buy perfect products for integration in buildings or infrastructure. 

In the mass customization lab in Petten we give demonstrations with semi-finished products on a smaller scale. In addition to experiments and demonstrations, we also have our own equipment for measuring and analysing semi-finished and finished products in terms of performance, safety and lifetime. 

Want to know more?

Get in touch with Peter Toonssen

Contact
Our work

Building facades will also generate solar energy

For a long time, solar energy in the built environment was mainly generated via solar panels on the roofs of homes and offices. But the roof surface alone, especially in high-rise buildings, is insufficient... Read more
Our work

Solar panel efficiency continues to improve as costs fall

Solar energy is affordable and reliable. The familiar panels, generally installed on roofs, have been achieving excellent returns for years – yet there is still much to be gained. TNO predicts that the... Read more
Our work

The first solar-powered passenger car: solar cells in the bodywork

The Lightyear One, one of the world’s first solar powered cars, is expected at the end of 2021. Lightyear has teamed up with TNO to develop technology to integrate more than 800 solar cells into the roof,... Read more
Our work

New technologies make PV more versatile

With a global market share of 95%, crystalline silicon still forms the basis for most photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. But the potential for further improvements in performance and cost is huge. With a... Read more
Our work

Growing potential for solar energy on buildings and infrastructure

The area that can be used to generate solar energy in the Netherlands is large and growing. TNO is developing solar energy concepts for optimal integration into the built environment: from roofs, facades... Read more

Contact

FOLLOW TNO ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Stay up to date with our latest news, activities and vacancies

TNO.nl collects and processes data in accordance with the applicable privacy regulations for an optimal user experience and marketing practices.
This data can easily be removed from your temporary profile page at any time.
You can also view our privacy statement or cookie statement.