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Konarka Technologies and Webasto collaborating on organic solar applications in automotive roofing systems

Konarka Technologies, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of flexible organic solar films, is collaborating with Webasto, one of the top 100 automotive suppliers, to integrate Konarka’s Power Plastic organic solar cells in Webasto’s automobile roofing systems.

Webasto specializes in developing and producing automobile roof systems and has taken on a leading role in the application of new materials and innovative roofs. The company has been developing and producing automobile roof systems with solar functionality for more than 20 years.

We have had extensive discussions with automobile manufacturers on the value of organic solar cells. The organic solar cells from Konarka offer a transparent, light and cost-effective solution for use in roof systems. The main task of the collaboration will be increasing the efficiency of the solar cells to magnitudes suitable for automobiles.

—Dr. Jörg Löffler, global vice president of Product Group Efficiency Technologies

Konarka works with high level OEM partners, such as Webasto, to develop Power Plastic for commercial uses. The automotive sector is a target market for Konarka and building integrated projects (BIPV) remain central to the company.

Organic solar cells are flexible, unbreakable, non-toxic and are made of recyclable materials. To date, they have achieved efficiencies independently lab certified at up to 8.4% and are characterized by better weak light behavior than alternative technologies. Performance is very good at sub-optimal angle of incidence as well as at elevated temperature, unlike traditional photovoltaic material. With Power Plastic, carbon molecules (fullerene and semi-conducting polymers) generate electricity under the influence of light. The solar cells are printed in a roll-to-roll process in various widths and lengths.

Konarka’s Power Plastic is semi-transparent and available in multiple colors as well as a wide range of sizes giving design freedom to architects and builders for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and other glass applications. Power Plastic's flexibility enables it to conform to curves and contours. These lightweight panels are bonded or laminated to a variety of materials and create independent power sources out of tension membrane structures, café umbrellas, awnings and tents. It is manufactured in a roll-to-roll process at low cost and low energy consumption making it favorable for the environment.

Comments

HarveyD

Using that material on all exposed surfaces, the average vehicle could capture enough solar energy to operate most on-board e-ancillaries and more, specially when parked in bright sunlight during work hours.

It would be ideal to be able to drive back home on a fully (sun) charged main battery.

ToppaTom

If you live that close to work, just bike or walk.

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