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belectric reveals future solar tech for german pavilion at expo 2015

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belectric reveals future solar tech for german pavilion at expo 2015

resting firmly on the cutting edge of photovoltaic technology, the OPV (organic photovoltaic) array on display at thegerman pavilion for expo milano 2015 embodies the pinnacle of german ingenuity and cross sectoral collaboration. the ‘idea trees’, conceived by schmidhuber architects, symbolizes how the seed of an idea can grow into a reality. during the day one can see the future generation of solar technology in the ‘trees’ while at night the covering is illuminated by the energy stored during the day: the duality of the surface serves to reveal both the technology and its power. developed by belectric OPV, a subsidiary of german solar powerhouse belectric, in collaboration with: carl stahl GmbH (installation), hager group (energy storage), U.I. lapp GmbH (electrical connections), merck KGaA (semiconductor material lisicon®) and with support from the german federal ministry of education and research the demonstration, the works preview a future of ubiquitous, cost effective and reliable solar power.

for the reader unfamiliar with the chemical process behind photovoltaic technology, it is important to understand the following: when sun light strikes the front contact of the cell it creates free electrons which pass through a semi-conductive polymer and are absorbed by holes in an electron deficient substrata. when absorbed they release energy upon bonding, leaving their excited state and creating an electrical current.

the transparent external panels allow sunlight through during the day, revealing the hexagonal solar units
photo courtesy of schmidhuber

the canopies of the ‘idea trees’ balance modernity with the natural wooden paneling of the deck
photo courtesy of schmidhuber

detail of the individual hexagonal unit, the connectors were developed by lapp specifically for the installation
photo courtesy of belectric OPV

the OPV units contrast with the otherwise austere ‘idea tree’ exterior adding a technological contrast
image ©designboom

the multi-step printing process employs presses designed by louisenthal, a leader in the field of currency printing, allows the cells to be assembled in one continues process. cheaper inputs, massive market potential and a single step manufacturing process creates the potential for prices orders of magnitudes less than current solar panel products.

while achieving a relatively lower energy conversion percentage of 5 percent, OPV’s overall generating capacity roughly equal silicate panels due to their ability to absorb diffuse light. the semi-conductive polymer, developed by merck, retains significant opportunities for improvement as the technology matures; experts foresee a day when the cells themselves are embedded in consumer products like the backs of cellphones.

the panels, suspended by cables create a light aesthetic when coupled with the ‘ideas trees’
photo courtesy of schmidhuber




while the solar units displayed atop the ‘idea trees’ are hexagonal, the potential shapes are truly only limited by ones imagination. OPV’s versatility lightness opens a wide range of applications

an exhibition piece by solarte displays the potential of embedding the cells between two panes of glass
image courtesy of belectric OPV

the roll to roll manufacturing process allows for the mass production of incredibly detailed panels
photo courtesy of belectric OPV

the leaf demonstration piece reveals how the silver electrode can be manipulated to mimic the veins found in their organic inspiration, available in red, blue and green; the color can be changed to suit specific contexts
photo courtesy of belectric OPV

[“source – designboom.com”]

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