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Posted: Oct 21, 2011
Konarka Technologies and Webasto begin their Cooperation for the Application of Organic Solar Cells in the Automobile Industry
(Nanowerk News) On the occasion of eCarTech, the international trade fair for electric mobility, Konarka Technologies, the US manufacturer of organic solar cells, and the top 100 automobile supplier Webasto, officially announce their cooperation on integrating organic solar cells in automobile roof systems. The trade fair takes place in Munich from 18 to 21 October 2011.
As one of the 100 largest automobile suppliers, Webasto is specialised in developing and producing automobile roof systems and has taken on a leading role in the application of new materials and innovative roofs. "We are pleased to be able to work with this forward looking company", says Alexander Valenzuela, Konarka's vice president of Business Development Europe. "We deliver our Power Plastic® technology with the corresponding parameters that Webasto needs for its products. Our organic solar cells have special features including transparency, are available in different colors, are flexible and lightweight."
Webasto is a pioneer for solar technology in the automotive sector. For over 20 years the company has been developing and producing automobile roof systems with solar functionality. Against the background of the world's growing number of electronic and hybrid vehicles, the company's expertise for solar modules in roof systems is becoming more and more significant. In the future, Webasto plans on integrating organic solar cells from Konarka Technologies in automobile roofs. To this purpose, Dr. Jörg Löffler, global vice president of Product Group Efficiency Technologies explains: "We have had intensive discussions with automobile manufacturers on the value of organic solar cells. The organic solar cells from Konarka offer a transparent, light and cost-effective solution for use in roof systems. The main task of the cooperation will be increasing the efficiency of the solar cells to magnitudes suitable for automobiles."
Konarka works with high level OEM partners, like Webasto, to continue to develop Power Plastic® for commercial uses. The automotive sector is a target market for Konarka and building integrated projects (BIPV) remain central to the company.
Organic Solar Cells: Technical Background
Organic solar cells are flexible, unbreakable, non-toxic and are made of recyclable materials. To date, they have achieved efficiencies independently lab certified at 8.4% and are characterized by better weak light behaviour than alternative technologies. Performance is very good at sub-optimal angle of incidence as well as at elevated temperature unlike traditional photovoltaic material. And this is how electricity is generated: in Power Plastic® from Konarka, carbon molecules (fullerene and semi-conducting polymers) generate electricity under the influence of light. The solar cells are printed in a cost-effective roll-to-roll process in many widths and lengths.
About Konarka Technologies
Konarka Technologies has been developing and producing organic solar cells since 2001, earning the company a technology leadership position in organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology. The company is redefining solar with Power Plastic®, its thin film, semi-transparent, flexible, organic solar panels that convert light to electricity – anywhere. The core technology is a photo-reactive polymer developed by an accomplished team led by Konarka co-founder and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Alan Heeger. With more than 350 patents, filings and licenses worldwide, the company employs over 100 people throughout the world with corporate headquarters in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, a full scale manufacturing facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts, European operations in Nürnberg, Germany, research and development in Linz, Austria and sales offices in Germany, Japan and the USA.
Webasto Group based in Stockdorf near Munich has been a family-owned business ever since the company was founded in 1901. Internationally, the group has more than at 50 locations (including over 30 production plants) dedicated to the business sectors roof and thermal systems. Webasto is one of the top 100 automotive suppliers worldwide. In 2010 the group has generated sales volumes of more than 2 billion Euros with over 8,500 employees. The company's core competencies include development, production and sales of roof and convertible systems as well as heating, cooling and ventilation systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.