Project: Hybrid NanoBud Electrode / Catalyst Films for Nanocarbon enhanced Dye Sensitized Photovoltaic Cells

The objective of the “Hybrid NanoBud Electrode / Catalyst Films for Nanocarbon enhanced Dye Sensitized Photovoltaic Cells” (SolarBud) project is to develop a low cost, high performance, stable, robust, highly transparent, catalytic and conductive polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate film in a roll to roll process to use as the counter electrode in Dye Sensitized (Photovoltaic) Cells (DSC) that are able to produce electricity in indirect lighting conditions for mobile autonomous devices._x000D__x000D_DSC technology, invented by Prof. Gretzel and under commercialization by G24 Innovations (G24i, Wales), has the principle capabilities to meet the requirements set by the market for diffuse light photovoltaics (PV). DSCs are potentially highly robust and flexible, have good efficiency, wide operating temperatures and low production costs. In addition, the technology is highly versatile and so widens the usage areas of PV. A limiting factor in the commercial success of the technology is the use of expensive catalysts (Platinum) and the low efficiency of charge collection in the silver grid electrode. Carbon nanomaterials (Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and NanoBuds® (CNBs) developed by Canatu OY (Canatu, Finland) have the principle capabilities to meet all the quality requirement set by end-users for a combined transparent electrode charge collector / spreader and catalyst front layer for the end user G24i. Canatu’s nanocarbon films are highly robust and flexible, have high carrier mobility and exceptional optical properties such as high transparency, colour neutrality and excellent index matching together with excellent potential as an efficient and low cost catalyst surface as required in the envisioned G24i DSC. Moreover, Canatu’s Direct Dry Printing® technology allows low cost, high volume production of rolls of material which is directly compatible with G24i roll-to-roll (R2R) production technology. Further development of G24i’s and Canatu’s materials in combination with the existing components will enable the Ps of the proposal to develop efficient, robust and cost effective power generators for autonomous mobile applications._x000D__x000D_The CNBs and application process provided by Canatu have the potential to replace the expensive and brittle Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) conductors used in DSCs today. CNB’s have catalytic properties synergistic with the chemistry of the DSC modules; and it is thus likely that the CNBs could be cost effectively used as both conductor and catalyst._x000D__x000D_In some transparent electrode architectures there are two conductors: one, the field conductor, providing a continuously conductive surface and the other, the grid conductor, providing low resistance bus connections to the field. Thus, the CNB’s must show good and robust adhesion and low resistance electrical connectivity to each other and to the grid. In this project, the Ps will cooperate to produce an optimal architecture based on this principle by combining their expertise and technologies. G24i will supply the PET substrate and the grid conductors to Canatu for coating with and adhesion of CNB’s. For commercialization, it will be necessary to develop the quality characteristics (cost, robustness, efficiency and stability in time and in UV light) of the photoactive layer for use by G24i and to develop the carbon nanomaterial based combined electrodes and catalyst by Canatu; integrate the components with existing components; and develop the necessary volume production technologies._x000D__x000D_The Ps will focus globally on solutions for portable, stationary and motive battery markets, but will also provide products for BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) and other applications. The total addressable market is worth €70 billion, but G24i expects to capture €26 million of it by 2015. Canatu, in addition to receiving payments from films sold and royalties per each sold DSC module containing their material, will be in a strong position to approach players in other, non-DSC fields such as OLED lighting, touch sensors and displays._x000D__x000D_The project coordinator is Mr. John Meschter from G24i. G24i utilises the latest breakthrough in material science and nanotechnology creating a new class of advanced solar cells which are the closest mankind has come to replicating photosynthesis. G24i manufactures a thin, extremely flexible and versatile nano-enabled PV material that converts light energy into electrical energy, even under low-light, indoor conditions. Thus, even in the absence of direct sunlight, electric energy can be generated in both a convenient and efficient manner._x000D__x000D_The P Canatu one of world's leading developers of a new class of versatile carbon nanomaterial based components. The SMEs competitive advantage is based on its NanoBud® nanomaterial having outstanding physical and chemical properties, its low cost Direct Dry Printing® process, and its superior proprietary methods for cost effective production of high-quality CNTs and NanoBuds®.

Acronym SolarBud (Reference Number: 7434)
Duration 01/08/2012 - 31/07/2014
Project Topic The project develops low cost, high performance, stable, robust, highly transparent, catalytic and conductive substrate conductive film in a roll to roll process to be used in Dye Sensitized Photovoltaic Cells able to produce electricity in indirect lighting conditions for mobile autonomous devices.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 G24 Innovations Limited Coordinator United Kingdom
2 Canatu Limited Partner Finland