Lowell, MA -- Konarka Technologies Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Power Plastic, a material that converts light to energy, announced that the National Energy Renewable Laboratory (NREL) has verified that the material class within Konarka's portfolio of flexible organic-based photovoltaic (PV) solar cells has demonstrated 6% efficiency performance. The results were achieved by Dr. Alan Heeger of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and chief scientist at Konarka, under the scope of the Sustainable Development Technology Canada program (SDTC), which provides funding to partners Université Laval (Quebec), the National Research Council of Canada (Ottawa), and Saint Jean Photochimie (Saint Jean, Quebec) for the development of low-cost printable organic solar cells. Konarka is the U.S. industrial solar cell partner.
"Achieving the power conversion efficiency of 6% for this relatively young material class is an important milestone," commented Dr. Alan Heeger. "This progress gives us confidence that we are on a technology pathway toward the vision of high-efficiency, low-cost plastic solar cells. Increasing the efficiency and performance of organic-based PV solar cells at this rate is bringing us closer to making solar electricity from photovoltaics cost-competitive with conventional forms of electricity."
Konarka has collaborated with the Université Laval, the National Research Council of Canada, and Saint Jean Photochimie for the past four years and recently obtained the exclusive license for a new family of photoactive polymers (polycarbazoles), originally developed by Professor Mario Leclerc, Director of the Macromolecular Science and Engineering Research Center of Université Laval (CERSIM) and director of the Quebec Center on Functional Materials (CQMF), and jointly developed for solar cell application by the SDTC consortium. Accordingly, Dr. Alan Heeger integrated the material into his cell architecture and has advanced the performance, as verified by the NREL.
"Konarka is extremely encouraged by these very successful results," commented Christoph Brabec, CTO at Konarka. "Reaching the 6% efficiency level is an impressive step toward our goals. This achievement demonstrates that the consortium is on track to develop solar cells with efficiencies in excess of 10%."
Dr. Heeger is also one of Konarka's co-founders and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. He and his colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have done pioneering research in the area of semi-conducting and metallic polymers. His current research group focuses on issues related to the fundamental electronic structure of this novel class of materials and carries out studies of light-emitting diodes, light-emitting electrochemical cells, and lasers all fabricated from semiconducting (conjugated) polymers.
Konarka Technologies Inc. develops and manufactures solar plastic films that convert light to energy anywhere. As the leading developer of polymer-based, organic-photovoltaic technology that provide a source of renewable power in a variety of form factors, Konarka has a broad portfolio of patents and technology licenses and an accomplished technical, scientific, and manufacturing team. Manufactured at low cost and low energy consumption, the company's Power Plastic technology is lightweight, flexible, scalable, and adaptable for use in a variety of commercial, industrial, government, and consumer applications. Konarka Technologies is headquartered in Lowell, MA, and has a full-scale production manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA, with European headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, business development offices in Asia, and a research and development facility in Austria.