The project

RH(E)IN-SOLAR is an Interreg IV project that has started on January 1st  2012, for a three year period.

The thirteen Rhine-Solar members listed below, form a scientific cluster, which aims to develop and promote organic photovoltaics in the Upper-Rhine region.

  • Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
  • Université de Strasbourg
  • Université de Haute-Alsace
  • Centre Suisse d’Electronique et de Microtechnique
  • Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
  • Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
  • RBNano
  • ROWO
  • Pôle Alsace Energivie
  • SOPREMA
  • Fraunhofer ISE
  • i-net Basel
  • Universität Basel

The project is co-funded by:

  • The Interreg IV Upper-Rhine Region
  • The Regio Basiliensis
  • The Helvetic Confederation
  • The cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Country

The project total budget is 4 M€

Goals

Rh(e)in-Solar follows two ambitious and complementary goals: improve the international positioning of the research activities done in the Upper-Rhine region on Organic Photovoltaics, and, accelerate the development of efficient organic solar modules by taking advantage of the numerous and complementary scientific and technological skills that are present in the Upper-Rhine valley.

Scientific context

The photovoltaic technology has become an important player in the production of renewable energy and in the struggle against global climate change. Over the last few years, a new generation of solar cells, called « Organic Photovoltaics », has attracted a lot of interest from the R&D community. This technology uses organic molecules in thin films  to convert light into electricity. It is a fallout from the discovery, in the seventies, of electrically conducting molecules. After a rapid development of organic light emitting diodes for lighting applications and flat panel displays, the researchers started to explore the opportunities to use these organic materials to elaborate solar cells. The photovoltaic performances of these devices have experienced recently a spectacular growth, and reached values similar to those of amorphous silicon solar cells. Thanks to the relatively facile, low temperature, elaboration process of organic thin films (using inkjet printing and roll-to-roll processes for instance), and the compatibility with light and flexible substrates, the organic technology has the potential to considerably reduce the costs of photovoltaic modules and extend the utilization of this renewable energy source.

A large number of research institutions, located in the Upper-Rhine Region, are currently working independently on various aspects of organic photovoltaics. Their activities cover a large spectrum of scientific and technological fields, from the synthesis of photoactive molecules to the development of roll-to-roll processing. The RH(E)IN-SOLAR project aims at establishing a strong link between these actors in order to create a transborder cluster of excellence in organic photovoltaics. The complementary competences as well as the geographical proximity of the RH(E)IN-SOLAR partners strengthens the consortium and allows them to work most efficiently on the development of organic photovoltaics.

Additionnaly, the participation of two national clusters, whose activities aim to enhance the link between research and industry, will support opportunities for technological transfer.

Activities

Research and development activities:

  • Design and synthesis of new organic photovoltaic materials
  • Advanced characterization of physico-chemical and optoelectronic material properties
  • Utilization of new materials as active layer in Small size photovoltaic devices and selection of most promising molecules
  • Optimisation of solar cells based on pre-selected materials
  • Development of new materials for transparent conducting electrodes, and their utilization to produce flexible solar modules
  • Roll-to-roll processing of organic modules.

Communication :

  • General public : presentation of the organic technology at regional exhibitions
  • Industry : annual Research/Industry forum on organic photovoltaics

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