The companies will be integrating Konarka’s Power Plastic organic solar cells in Webasto’s automobile roofing systems. The announcement was made at eCarTech, the international trade fair for electric mobility, which takes place in Munich, Germany, October 18-21, 2011.
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.
“We are pleased to be able to work with this forward looking company,” says Alexander Valenzuela, Konarka’s vice president of business development Europe. “We deliver our Power Plastic technology with the parameters that Webasto needs for its products. Our organic solar cells have special features including transparency, availability in different colors, as well as being flexible and lightweight.”
Webasto is a pioneer for solar technology in the automotive sector. For over 20 years the company has been developing and producing automobile roof systems with solar functionality. With the world’s growing number of electronic and hybrid vehicles, the company’s expertise for solar modules in roof systems is becoming more significant. Webasto plans on integrating organic solar cells from Konarka in automobile roofs.
Dr. Jörg Löffler, global vice president of Product Group Efficiency Technologies explains, “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.”
Konarka works with high level OEM partners, like 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: Technical Background
Organic solar cells are flexible, unbreakable, non-toxic and are made of recyclable materials. To date, they have achieved efficiencies independently lab certified at a world record 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 cost-effective, roll-to-roll process in various widths and lengths.
Webasto Group based in Stockdorf near Munich has been a family-owned business ever since the company was founded in 1901. Internationally, the group has more than at 50 locations (including over 30 production plants) dedicated to the business sectors roof and thermal systems. Webasto is one of the top 100 automotive suppliers worldwide. In 2010 the group has generated sales volumes of more than 2 billion Euros with over 8,500 employees. The company's core competencies include development, production and sales of roof and convertible systems as well as heating, cooling and ventilation systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
About Konarka Technologies
Konarka reinvents solar with Power Plastic®, organic solar film that converts light to electricity-anywhere. Konarka is the leading manufacturer of polymer-based, printed, organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology. 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. Konarka has a broad portfolio of patents, technology licenses and an accomplished technical, scientific and manufacturing team. The company is headquartered in Lowell, MA, USA with European operations based in Nürnberg, Germany. Its full scale manufacturing facility is based in New Bedford, MA, USA with R&D facilities in Lowell and Nürnberg. Konarka maintains sales offices in Japan, Germany and the USA. For additional information, visit http://www.konarka.com.
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