Black silicon cells in the hands of robots in EU project
Department of Micro- and Nanosciences Professor Hele Savin has received funding for an EU project aimed at producing even more efficient solar cells by utilising nanotechnology. Project partners include the Spanish Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, the German Solar World Innovations GmbH (SWIN), and five other companies related to the field.
'We have already obtained very promising results in the laboratory. Now we have a chance to test together with the manufacturers how the cells function and produce energy outside, as part of modules', Ms Savin was pleased to tell, continuing that the evaluation panel praised both the global impact of the research, as well as the strong involvement of industry in the university-coordinated project.
The Finnish companies participating in the project are thin film manufacturer Beneq, solar panel manufacturers Naps Solar Systems and Cencorp, the supplier of the silicon needed for making the cells Okmetic, and the energy company Fortum. Also, German solar cell manufacturer SWIN will have a significant role in the project.
'SWIN has, among other things, a pilot production line suitable for mass production of the cells. Our first impressions of the production line robots were rather frightening though – what will happen to our fragile solar cells in the hands of those robots?' Ms Savin said with a smile.
'We have quite interesting challenges ahead of us. Our goal is to bring black silicon solar cells one step closer to the consumer. We are not, however, dealing with simply a commercial project; I am expecting to see also scientific breakthroughs.'
Professor Hele Savin