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Low cost solar glazing project to receive £567,000 grant

Post Time:Sep 04,2008Classify:Company NewsView:371

A partnership led by UK solar technology firm Polysolar is to begin work this autumn developing plastic photovoltaics for use on windows and structural glass, following confirmation of a grant of nearly £570,000 from the Technology Strategy Board.

The project is being launched in early November, but funding was announced by the Technology Strategy Board in August.

Polysolar, along with partners Linde Electronics, Imperial College, Sagentia and Pilkington Technology Management, aims to produce low cost, translucent photovoltaic glass based on organic polymers, for applications in structural glazing and curtain walling.

Chief executive officer of Hertfordshire-based Polysolar, Hamish Watson, said: "The objective of the project is to develop polymer photovoltaics to use in transparent architectural glazing, primarily for commercial buildings.

"The basic technology of polymer photovoltaics originates from Cambridge and Imperial College research. What we are doing is improving the lifetime and performance of the technology, and encapsulate it for the glazing application."

Specifically, the solar firm wants to develop a polymer photovoltaic coating that can be fully integrated with glass, and manufactured into glazing panels with a lifetime of 25 years.

At the end of the two year project, Polysolar expects to have produced a prototype of the polymer-coated glass which can be used for further development and manufacture of commercial grade glass panels.

Currently, photovoltaics made from silicone take the form of solar panels, which dominate the photovoltaic market.

Hamish Watson outlined two key advantages of plastic-based photovoltaics, saying: "First of all, plastic is a lot cheaper than silicone and smaller quantities are needed. Secondly, because it's polymer, it's also semi-transparent, so it can be used on glass."

£10 million
The award given to the Cambridge-based firm and its associates is part of a total of £10 million in grants given by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), in partnership with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council, to invest in sixteen research and development projects.

Granted as a response to the Board's autumn 2007 call for research and development proposals, the investments are to be matched pound for pound by project partners.

Offering support for the investment decision, Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson said: "Sustainable energy supplies and the control of carbon dioxide emissions are major environmental challenges in the UK. Large scale investment, such as the £10 million granted by the Technology Strategy Board, will enable innovative materials technologies to be developed to meet the challenges we face in energy generation, conservation, storage and transmission."

Among the projects benefitting from the TSB's investment is a venture led by engineers Arup to develop a low-cost photovoltaic double-glazed window based on a semi-transparent bifacial cadmium telluride solar cell.

Sponsored by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led public body. Its role is to promote and support research into technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and increase quality of life.

Commenting on the projects offered funding, the Board's director of innovation programmes, David Bott, said: "The technologies will bring enormous economic benefit in future, and will have global potential. We are delighted to offer our support and investment to these projects and look forward to some exciting work ahead."

Source: NewEnergyFocusAuthor: shangyi

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