ECN part of TNO, TNO, Holst Centre and Eindhoven University of Technology were the founding members of Solliance, which has been able to attract renowned knowledge institutes and companies from its own country, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Japan and Australia as partners in recent years. These partners include the Belgian research institute imec, Forschungszentrum Jülich, University of Hasselt, TU Delft and companies such as VDL, DSM, Panasonic, Greatcell Solar, Solartek and Shell.
Solliance takes up promising research at universities to work with companies and transform the results into marketable technologies, materials, processes and products. ‘From Lab to Fab’ as Solliance calls it. Thin film PV technology forms the core of the research activities. For example, applications are being developed to integrate thin film PV in physical infrastructures such as roads or dikes, buildings and vehicles. Thin film PV modules can be produced in four different versions: on glass (not bendable) or on film (flexible) either with a (semi-) transparent or an opaque version. This enables an infinite range of applications in construction or mobility, which means that in the long term it will be possible to generate solar energy in many places.
A relatively new thin film material that is responsible for many current successes is called perovskite. This new material has seen the performance of solar cells more than double in five years. Solliance was one of the first institutes to demonstrate that this new thin film PV technology can be scaled up while maintaining efficiency and stability, using low-cost materials and processes. The step from successful tests in the lab to the actual manufacture of solar cell modules is therefore becoming shorter and shorter.
In order to further increase the efficiency of PV modules to above 30%, Solliance is working on stacking various solar cell technologies: Si and perovskite, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) and perovskite, and even perovskite/perovskite, where the last two combinations can also be made flexible.
In the development of these technologies, the emphasis is on performance, stability, cost efficiency and the ability to quickly scale up from the lab to real products. Think of the invisible integration of custom thin film modules in roads, noise barriers, roofs, windows and even vehicles. We develop knowledge to enable manufacturers to set up their machines and processes to produce and integrate thin film PV panels, in every form and kind of electrical output.