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  • Press Release #27 / 2020

    Fraunhofer ISE Receives f-cell Award 2020

    September 30, 2020

    © f-cell Award/ Angelika Emmerling

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE received the f-cell Award this year in the category "Research & Development". The prize distinguished their work on the development of flatbed screen printing as an industrially scalable manufacturing process for fuel cell electrodes. Minister of the Environment, Climate Protection and the Energy Sector for Baden-Wuerttemberg Franz Untersteller presented the award personally during the f-cell conference in Stuttgart on September 29.

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  • Solar power is the most cost-effective form of energy worldwide, thanks to the many significant research contributions continuously made up to today. A decisive factor here is resource-saving production technology, which plays an important role along with increasing efficiency. HighLine Technology GmbH is the most recent Fraunhofer ISE spin-off company. The Freiburg-based start-up aims to commercialize a new process which was developed at the institute, whereby a contactless dispensing process is used to apply front metal contacts onto solar cells. This process not only saves resources but also increases the electricity yield and the potential for cost reductions. Applications also include production processes outside the field of photovoltaics.

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  • In the field of organic photovoltaics, researchers are working hard to further increase the solar cell efficiency. New materials obtained from synthetic organic chemistry have enabled significant efficiency increases in recent years. Maintaining the efficiencies achieved in the laboratory on tiny solar cells is often a challenge when the cell area becomes larger. Now Fraunhofer ISE together with the Freiburg Materials Research Center FMF of the University of Freiburg has achieved a record efficiency of 14.9% for organic solar cells with an area of at least 1 cm². This marks an important step for this cost-effective technology on its way to application maturity.

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  • Energy-Charts electricity production
    © Fraunhofer ISE; energy-charts.de

    The data platform energy-charts.de of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is the most comprehensive database for power generation in Germany. Since 2014, the site gathers data on power generation from various neutral sources and makes it accessible to the public. The site has been further developed in the InGraVi project which was funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) and is now ready for relaunch. Changes were made so that the correlations between different data categories can be more quickly understood. DBU Secretary General Alexander Bonde remarks, "The energy transition is a generational task which must be implemented quickly. Digital platforms such as the Energy Charts help to objectify the discussion. What effect does CO2 pricing have? This will become more transparent with the relaunch: The website now correlates new data, such as electricity exchange prices and CO₂ prices, so that it becomes clear at what cost level coal-based electricity generation is no longer profitable for power plant operators.

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  • Higher efficiencies for solar cells and thus a faster expansion of photovoltaics and an acceleration of the energy transition – This is the objective of the researchers at Fraunhofer ISE when working on tandem photovoltaics. They will present the latest results of their work on tandem solar cells of different material classes at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition EU PVSEC, which will be held online from September 7-11, 2020.

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  • Among solar thermal power plants, solar tower systems are considered to have the greatest potential in terms of efficiency and cost reduction. In particular, costs can be saved on mirrors (heliostats), which account for between 30 and 40 percent of the investment. Frequent calibration or control of the heliostat aim points is one approach. In the HelioControl project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE developed a calibration and control system based on digital image processing for heliostat fields. With this method, the aim points of many heliostats can be determined for the first time during operation in a timely and cost efficient manner.

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  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Martin Henning, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE and Professor for Solar Energy Systems at the University of Freiburg, was appointed to the new Expert Council on Climate Issues by the German Cabinet. The independent panel of experts, consisting of five scientists, will advise the German government on the implementation of Germany’s Climate Action Law.

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  • Press Release #20 / 2020

    New Record Efficiency for Tandem Solar Cell Technology

    August 10, 2020

    Several III-V tandem solar cells on a silicon substrate with 10 cm diameter.
    © Fraunhofer ISE /Photo: Markus Feifel

    In the field of photovoltaics, intensive research is being carried out to continually improve solar cell efficiency. Increasingly, the focus is on tandem photovoltaics, in which high-performance solar cell materials are brought together in various combinations in order to use the solar spectrum even more efficiently when converting light into electrical energy. Fraunhofer ISE is now reporting a new record efficiency of 25.9 percent for a III-V/Si tandem solar cell grown directly on silicon. This cell was produced on a low-cost silicon substrate for the first time – marking an important milestone on the way to economical solutions for tandem photovoltaics.

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  • To meet the evolving needs of climate change and the German energy transition, as well as combat the rising energy costs for end consumers, more and more households are adding home storage systems to their PV systems. A major challenge of PV home storage is that the batteries are charged within a few hours in intense sunlight and then discharged at very low power, or partial load, over a long time period during the night. Because of this, battery inverters in home storage systems should have high conversion efficiency over the largest power range possible. In the HyBaG project, which started in 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in collaboration with Kaco New Energy and STS - Spezial-Transformatoren Stockach has developed a low-loss hybrid inverter which functions efficiently even at partial load. With the new inverter, private households can save up to 250 euros annually.

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  • Demonstrator with rotary printing technology
    © ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH

    Unprecedented precision and speed are the outstanding features of a novel high-throughput system for the metallization of silicon solar cells and other functional printing applications. The system is able to realize high-precision coating processes using rotary screen printing and flexographic printing with a throughput corresponding up to 8000 components per hour on an industrial scale. The demonstrator machine was developed by a project consortium under the joint leadership of the ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. In addition to solar cells, the system enables high-precision printing on single components, e.g. for applications in the field of hydrogen technology, sensor technology or power electronics.

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