EU 2020




Country: Spain
Main Role: Coordinator, Absorber, Interfaces, devices.
Principal Investigator:

Dr. Edgardo Saucedo / E-mail: esaucedo(ELIMINAR)

The Catalonia Institute for Energy Research, IREC (Institut de Recerca en Energia de Catalunya) was funded in 2008, and began its R+D activities in 2009. Since then IREC has been involved in several European and industrial projects. The main efforts of IREC have been centred on the improvement of the industrial competitiveness, not only by bringing new knowledge on materials science, physical chemistry of processes, heat and mass transfer phenomena, electrical and electronic engineering for energy devices and systems but also on transferring knowledge and technologies to disruptive innovations for relevant novel energy systems and smart energy management models increasing efficiency of the used energy.

The Group of Solar Energy Materials and Systems (SEMS), headed by Prof. Dr. Alejandro Pérez-Rodriguez (aperezr(ELIMINAR) belongs to the Area of Advanced Materials for Energy of IREC. The SEMS Group has a strong know-how and experience in the synthesis of kesterite semiconductors and a deep expertise in the development, fabrication and characterization of kesterite based PV devices, being one of the three leading European groups reporting the highest kesterite efficiencies without the use of hazardous compounds.

The main role of the IREC-SEMS group in STARCELL will be centred in the development of materials solutions for high efficiency kesterite based solar cells including investigation of doping strategies and alloying routes, the optimisation of the absorber/back contact interface, the modification of thermal routes, etc.

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Country: France
Main Role: Buffer layers, simulation, LCA
Principal Investigator: Dr. Louis Grenet / E-mail: louis.grenet(ELIMINAR)

The CEA is the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives). It is a public body established in October 1945. A leader in research, development and innovation, the CEA is active in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. In each of these fields, the CEA maintains a cross-disciplinary culture of engineers and researchers, building on the synergies between fundamental and technological research.

The CEA will be involved in the project through its LITEN institute. LITEN has a staff of 1000 people. Every year LITEN puts in place 400 research contracts and carries out R&D on behalf of industrial partners from a wide range of market segments: energy, land transportation, aerospace, construction, civil engineering, environmental, and IT industries, amongst others. Intellectual property forms a major part of LITEN activities. LITEN has a portfolio of 1,100 international patents, filing 200 patents in 2012, 235 in 2013, and 230 in 2014.

LITEN has a strong expertise in photovoltaics (400 people working on solar energy and building energy efficiency) and thin film deposition technologies (thin-film solar cells, heterojunction solar cells, thin-film batteries, thin-film optical coatings, etc.). Particularly, LITEN developed a considerable experience in CIGS and CZTSSe technologies with the participation to several FP7 European project dedicated on these materials.

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Country: Switzerland
Main Role: Absorver, interfaces, buffer layers, devices
Principal Investigator: Dr. Yaroslav Romanyuk / E-mail:yaloslav.romanuk(ELIMINAR)@empa.cha>

Empa is an interdisciplinary research and service institution for materials science and technology development within the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain). Empa's research and development activities are oriented to meeting the requirements of industry and the needs of our society, and link together applications-oriented research and the practical implementation of new ideas, science and industry, and science and society. Empa employs more than 850 staff, of which 230 are female; over 450 employees are engineers and scientists with advanced degrees. "Materials for Energy Technologies" is one of the five strategic research directions at Empa.

The Laboratory of Thin Films and Photovoltaics (TFPV) at Empa is working on thin film solar cells and materials since 1988 under the leadership of Prof. Dr. A. N. Tiwari. The photovoltaic activities are R&D on topics of industrial relevance, high efficiency thin film solar cells based on CIGS, CdTe, CZTS and other emerging semiconductors on different substrates. Important contributions of the Empa group include: world record efficiency flexible CIGS and CdTe solar cells on polymer films: 20.4% efficiency CIGS and 13.6% efficiency CdTe solar cells on polymer film with processes suitable for roll-to-roll manufacturing. Monolithically interconnected mini-modules have been developed with efficiencies close to 17% together with ETH spin-off company Flisom.

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Uppsala Universitet

Country: Sweden
Main Role: Advanced surface characterization
Principal Investigator:

Prof. Klaus Leifer /E-mail: klaus.leifer(ELIMINAR)

Uppsala University ( is a general university (35,000 students) covering a broad range of teaching and research. The University is rated 70th-100th worldwide and counts approximately 5000 researchers. UU researchers have obtained 7 Nobel prices, of which 2 Nobel prizes in material analysis techniques. The Ångström Laboratory hosts 1100 employees of UU making it one of the biggest materials research centres in Scandinavia. The Laboratory has a focus in energy and health materials.

The Division of Applied Materials Science has activities in synthesis and analysis of novel materials and counts about 60 researchers. The solar activity of analysis of CIGS and kesterite based solar cells in this division has started in 2005 in the Leifer. The activities on these materials groups include analysis of structure, chemical composition and electronic structure with down to atomic scale resolution. In these polycrystalline samples, grain boundaries play a key role in obtaining high efficiency. We have contributed to the understanding of the electronic property of grain boundaries by analysing segregations, diffusion and structure in the boundaries and their environment by transmission electron microscopy techniques. In particular, we have developed EELS and EDS techniques to understand more details about the composition and valence state of the elements in the grain boundaries. The group has worked in the EU SNAPSUN project, where third generation SiNP based absorber layers were developed. 3D electron tomography has been developed to analyse the distribution of the grain boundaries and 3D spectroscopic electron tomography allowed for the discovery of hitherto unknown interfacial layers between the NPs and the matrix material. In kesterite materials TEM analysis has contributed to the understanding of highest efficiencies of the related solar cells.

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Imperial college London

Country: United Kingdom
Main Role: Material modelling
Principal Investigator: Prof. Aron Walsh / E-mail: a.walsh(ELIMINAR)

Imperial College London (ICL) is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom. In 1907 it was founded by Prince Albert who envisioned an area composed of the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Royal Albert Hall and the Imperial Institute. Imperial is included among the best universities in the world by numerous university rankings.

The Department of Materials at Imperial College London has over 41 full-time academic staff, 76 research assistants, and a population of over 130 postgraduate research students. The Department is a recognised leader in UK Materials Science and Engineering research and is the number one recipient of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funding for Materials. Their aim is to deliver world-leading research and scholarship in all areas of Materials Science and Engineering; maintain and grow a creative and supportive environment where research students receive first-class training, postdoctoral researchers develop independence and all staff realise their full research potential; be the collaborator of choice for industry and academia both nationally and internationally.

Materials modelling is a particular strength at Imperial College as part of the Thomas Young Centre for the theory and simulation of materials. The main role of ICL will be in atomistic materials modelling both as a tool to accelerate characterisation and to provide new directions for improving photovoltaic performance.

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Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin

Country: Germany
Main Role: Optical/Electrical characterization. Mini-modules.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Thomas Unold / E-mail: unold(ELIMINAR)

HZB was founded in 2009 by the merger of the former Hahn-Meitner-Institute Berlin GmbH and the BESSY II synchrotron, and is a member of the Helmholtz Foundation. HZB's mission is energy materials research and the operation of two large-scale facilities - BER II and BESSY II - for the international scientific user community and to perform in-house research in the Helmholtz research fields "Matter" and "Energy". HZB has extensive experience in the deposition and processing of thin film materials for applications in photovoltaics, solar fuels, and catalysis, and optical devices. Considerable focus of the research efforts has been on gaining an understanding of growth processes for high quality semiconductor thin films as this is considered a prerequisite for the development of scalable and economic thin film deposition. HZB has also worked extensively on thin device fabrication and analysis including upscaling and prototyping to larger areas. Efficiencies of 19.4% for chalcopyrite-based solar cells and more than 20% for silicon-based heterojunctions have been demonstrated. The main role of HZB in STARCELL will be to apply advanced optoelectronic characterization and analysis methods specifically developed for thin film solar cell development. It will also contribute to the development and analysis of growth processes and help with upscaling and stability tasks.

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Martin-Luther Universität Halle-Wittenberg

Country: Germany
Main Role: Device modelling. In-situ characterization.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Roland Scheer / E-mail: roland.scheer(ELIMINAR)

The Martin-Luther-University (MLU) established in 1502 is located in the middle of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany. As a classical full university, the MLU accommodates around 20,000 students and 5,000 members of the administrative stuff at the faculties of theology, law and economics, medicine, philosophy, and natural sciences. The natural sciences are located at the Weinberg Campus very close to research centeres max-planck-institute of micro-structural physics, the Helmholtz-center for environmental investigations, and the fraunhofer institutes for mechanics of materials and for silicon photovoltaics.

The Photovoltaics Group is part of the institute of physics. Actually, it consists of the head Prof. Dr. Roland Scheer, two scientific assistants, one technician, 5 PhD students, and four masters students. The focus of the current research lies on the investigation of the thin-film photovoltaic materials Cu(In,Ga)Se2, Cu2ZnSnSe4, and perovskites. The research is targeted on the understanding of material's growth and on the characterization and the modelling of material properties. The group works closely with the industry which is due to the vicinity to the so-called Solar valley accommodating companies for CIGSe, CdTe, and silicon photovoltaics.

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IMRA Europe

Country: France
Main Role: Absorber, interfaces, devices, mini-modules, exploitarion.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Gilles Dennler / E-mail: dennler(ELIMINAR)

IMRA Europe SAS is an independent research and development company dedicated to the alliance of technology and sustainable development. Created in 1986, it counted amongst the first firms to settle in Sophia Antipolis, the high-tech park located close to Nice (France). Employing about 35 persons, the company concentrates it effort on three main scientific topics that are new electromagnetic motors, perception and intelligence, and advanced materials. The Department of Advanced Materials (DAM) comprises 12 permanent staffs who have been working for the last 10 years on various types of photovoltaic devices including i) Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC), ii) Organic Solar Cells (OPV), iii) Extremely Thin Absorber (ETA) solar cells, and iv) CZTSSe solar cells.

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Country: Sweden
Main Role: Mini-modules, homogeneity, exploitarion.
Principal Investigator: Eng. Eric Jaremalm / E-mail: eric.jaremalm(ELIMINAR), MSc. Patrice Bras / E-mail: patrice.bras(ELIMINAR)

Midsummer supplies turnkey equipment for cost effective and scalable manufacturing of flexible and light-weight thin film solar cells and modules. The company was founded in 2004 by people with decades of experience in the optical disc industry. Midsummer's main products are the DUO and UNO tools respectively designed for thin film solar cells production and R&D.

In addition to equipment design and construction capability, Midsummer has a strong in-house research and development activity and develops the corresponding processes for CIGS and CZTS solar cell fabrication.

Midsummer's facility in Sweden is also equipped with a production line for flexible thin film solar modules fabrication.

The main role of Midsummer in STARCELL will be to lead the industrial transfer and upscaling of the CZTS process developed in this project. The main challenge is the optimization of process lateral uniformity to manufacture efficient large area cells and mini-modules. Midsummer will also take part in the validation of the technology through module encapsulation and tests in climate chambers together with AYESA and AR.

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Wirec Weee International Recycling

Country: Spain
Main Role: Material supply chain, recycling/reuse, exploitarion.
Principal Investigator: MSc. Maria Pilar Asensio / E-mail: mariapilar.asensio(ELIMINAR)

WIREC is a company dedicated to industrial waste management as its main objective to provide products and services, in addition to being competitive in price, comply with contractual requirements and needs of its customers. WIREC has experience in the recycling of a wide variety of electronic waste, and in the recovery of high value metals by means of electrochemical and chemical processes. Among others, we have set-up industrial scale processes for the recovery of gold and tin from printed circuit boards, as well as for the recovery of silver from X-ray plates.

We meet the WEEELABEX standards for the recycling of Large appliances (categories 1 & 10), temperature exchange equipment (category 1), mixed appliances (categories 2,3,4,5,6,7,9), and display unites (categories 3,4). Thus, we are the only company in Spain, and one of the few companies in Europe, that has been certified for four different WEEELABEX categories. In addition, our management system complies with the ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 standards.

Our main role in the project will be the set-up and optimization at the laboratory scale of a recycling process for kesterite cells (WP5). Our background and industrial experience in the development of customized chemical recovery processes will enable us to develop an optimized recycling process for the kesterite PV cells developed in the Project.

As a company specialized in the recycling of electronic equipment, WIREC is interested in the project to increase our know-how in the recycling of PV panels, which represents an opportunity to gain access to a niche and rapidly growing market.

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Country: Spain
Main Role: In field devices testing. Exploitation.
Principal Investigator: Eng. Santiago Blanco Polo / E-mail: sblanco(ELIMINAR), Dr. Alicia Arce / E-mail: aarce(ELIMINAR)

AYESA is a leading Spanish engineering group with a total turnover over 250 million euros and 3.000 employees, providing integrated services related to multidisciplinary engineering, architecture, consultancy and information technology. The company has an innovative philosophy and uses its own know-how to develop pioneer projects which are tailored to customer needs offering high added value to the market.

In broad terms, AYESA group has experience in designing more than 200 industrial manufacturing plants, developing more than 30 complete EPC projects, 15 works in oil refineries, 30 fermentation plants with its own technology, 40 desalination, urban and industrial effluents, water treatment plants and more than 20 renewable energy plants. Specifically, AYESA consulting and outsourcing issue the 43% of Spanish homes and electricity billing for 12 million customers, and is in charge of education and telematics services for 9,600 schools, technology infrastructure management of 30 hospitals, more than 200,000 annual telematics health appointments and e-learning services for over 60,000 students.

Control Systems area designs and implements the most modern control systems in a variety of sectors and applications. Specifically, in relation to Starcell project, AYESA provides special added value to energy installations and industrial complexes. Its work ranges from the design to the start of operations of installations including PV solar power plants, applying the most suitable technological solution to production, including the handling of all authorisations, construction planning, purchase management, construction and assembly and, if required, their maintenance and operation.

AYESA possesses the know-how in terms of electricity supply (medium and low voltage lines, generators, photovoltaic installations, etc.), instruments for measuring physical values (power, voltage, current, electromechanical element states, etc.), remote stations, communication networks (radio, satellite, GPRS, etc.), treatment and presentation of information (control centers, web access), use of information (mathematical data modelling, decision support systems, statistical data handling, etc.).

Within AYESA staff, there are many programmers with large experience in different automation platforms, as well as highly skilled technicians specialized in electrical installations, instrumentation, communications, etc. AYESA staff tasks take place both in the office, where designing and programming stages are done, and in the construction site, where erection and commissioning stages occurs. AYESA also designs the communication infrastructure required to assure the effective interconnection between remote stations and control centres, as well as the adequate data transfer.

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Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

Country: Japan
Main Role: Absorber, devices Benchmarking and certification.
Principal Investigator: Prof. Hajime Shibata / E-mail: h.shibata(ELIMINAR)

The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) was reorganized in April 2001 as an incorporated administrative agency upon the integration of the 15 research institutes of the former Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, the former Ministry of International Trade and Industry(MITI) and the Weights and Measures Training Institute under MITI. AIST is one of the largest public research organizations in Japan, focuses on the creation and practical realization of technologies useful to Japanese industry and society, and on "bridging" the gap between innovative technological seeds and commercialization. For this, AIST is organized into five departments and two centers that bring together core technologies to exert its comprehensive strength. AIST, as a core and pioneering existence of the national innovation system, has about 2000 researchers doing research and development at 10 research bases across the country, based on the national strategies formulated with the changing environment involving innovation in mind.

Research Center for Photovoltaics (RCPV) belongs to the Energy and Environment department of AIST. RCPV is aiming sustainable development of photovoltaic technologies. As one of the global center for photovoltaic technologies research and development, our activities cover materials, devices, system design, characterization and standardization.

Main role of the AIST-RCPV group in STARCELL will be centred in the development of high efficiency kesterite based solar cells including the investigation of doping and alloying of the kesterite materials, investigation of the influences of heat treatment on he kesterite materials, the optimisation of the buffer layer/absorber layer heterojunction interface, etc.

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Duke University

Country: United States
Main Role: Absorber, interfaces. Benchmarking.
Principal Investigator: Prof. David Mitzi / E-mail: david.mitzi(ELIMINAR)

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University - a top 15 entity in terms of U.S. mechanical engineering faculty research productivity (Academic Analytics 2014) - addresses fundamental and applied engineering problems in the following areas: aerodynamics, controls, thermodynamics, as well as biological and electronic materials and interfaces. The faculty maintain strong connections with industry, and lead multi-research efforts-providing ample opportunities for graduate students to pursue research at the forefront of their field, and develop career relevant experience.

Since there is no funding available for work at Duke University, the group could advise or co-advise a researcher at one of the European institution. In this way, supplies could be funnelled to the European institution and the researcher might also be able to have funding to work at Duke for part of the time. This will give a relevant international experience to the researcher with the opportunity of working with Prof. Mitzi, which demonstrated the current world record of kesterite solar cell.

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