ADAPT – Climate Adaptation through Organic Agri-Photovoltaics

Duration: 09/2021 - 07/2024
Contracting Authority/ Sponsors: Baden-Württemberg Stiftung 
Project Focus      
© Fraunhofer ISE
Mock-Up eines transparenten organischen Solarmoduls, das mit einem noch stark absorbierenden organischem Halbleitermaterial gefertigt wurde. Im Projekt sollen solche Module mit elektrischer Funktion und höherer Transparenz hergestellt und die Technologie anhand dieser Demonstratoren interessierten Anwendern vorgestellt werden.
© Fraunhofer ISE
Mock-Up eines transparenten organischen Solarmoduls, das mit einem noch stark absorbierenden organischem Halbleitermaterial gefertigt wurde. Im Projekt sollen solche Module mit elektrischer Funktion und höherer Transparenz hergestellt und die Technologie anhand dieser Demonstratoren interessierten Anwendern vorgestellt werden.

Climate change has become a tangible reality in Germany in recent years. Heatwave summers and low precipitation in winters have led to massive problems in agriculture in many places. Protected cultivation under foils is a current trend, causing additional costs and waste problems. In this project, highly transparent organic solar cells will be developed that allow visible light, which is important for plants, to pass through and use the infrared portion to generate electricity. These could make it possible to simultaneously generate the urgently needed solar power for a successful energy and mobility turnaround from the film covers that are intended to protect plants from heavy rain, hail, sunburn and desiccation.

A unique selling point of organic photovoltaics (OPV) is the unique adaptability of organic semiconductor materials. For example, by modifying the molecular structure, the optical properties can be adjusted so that the solar cells strongly absorb light in the near infrared, but allow visible light to pass through unhindered. This is not possible with conventional semiconductors and also perovskite semiconductors, since photons with an energy greater than the band gap are always absorbed in these crystalline materials. In fact, the absorption coefficient increases with increasing energy, which means that visible light is always absorbed more strongly than infrared light. This unique property allows highly transparent solar cells to be produced with higher efficiency than with conventional technologies. The added value of solar power could counter-finance higher quality films and glass greenhouses, making climate adaptation financially easier for farmers and releasing far less waste in the form of cheap plastic films. This would simultaneously contribute to climate change adaptation as well as prevention.

The "ADAPT" project is intended to bring Fraunhofer ISE researchers together with potential users in agriculture in order to determine practical requirements for the technology and, conversely, to enable farmers to gain initial experience with organic solar films. Infrared absorbing OPV materials currently under development will be optimized in the laboratory and transparent OPV modules will be produced in a roll-to-roll process. In addition to the actual development of these highly transparent OPV, precise knowledge of the practical requirements of users is extremely important for targeted technology development and a successful market launch, in order to identify possible hurdles to broad acceptance and rapid dissemination of the technology at an early stage and to incorporate them into the development. Modules produced in a roll-to-roll process will be made available to users to provide initial impressions of transparency, the mechanical properties and possible formats. Exposure of the modules in the field will also reveal requirements for the mechanical properties and possible weak points. Ideas for practicable systems and possible applications will be discussed together with users.

More Information on this Topic:

Field of Work

Organic Solar Cells and Modules

Research Topic

Perovskite and Organic Photovoltaics

Field of Work

Integrated Photovoltaics

Research Topic

Photovoltaic Modules and Power Plants

Business Area

Photovoltaics