EU Commissioner very impressed by her visit to Heliatek

EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn visited Heliatek on December 4, 2012, during her two-day visit of the high-tech cluster in the Free State of Saxony. Heliatek founders and management informed the EU Commissioner on current research projects in the field of organic electronics to give her an exclusive glimpse on what is yet to come. After this look into the future, a tour of the world’s first roll-to-roll production line, that uses low temperature vacuum deposition for the manufacture of organic solar films, showed what has already been achieved regarding this disruptive technology.

During her two-day visit in the Free State of Saxony, the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, got a first-hand impression of Saxony’s high-tech competences and its key players.  The focus of her visit was put on companies and research institutes in the fields of micro- and nano-electronics, organic electronics, bio technology and material sciences, as they are of high strategic importance for the future economic development of Germany and Europe. Among the visited companies were two leading companies of the semiconductor industry, namely Globalfoundries and Infineon Technologies, as well as the technology leader in organic photovoltaics, Heliatek.

“I am delighted to be visiting Saxony, one of the leading micro-electronic clusters in the world, and a region which is also very active in transport, photonics, biotechnology and other sectors. Saxony is doing targeted R&D and raising European competitiveness at a time when we desperately need high-tech growth and jobs. That is why the European Commission is supporting research here with funding from our Framework Programmes, and why I am sure we will continue that support in the new Horizon 2020 programme,” says EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn.

EU Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn was very impressed during her visit of Heliatek where she witnessed such a high-tech growth. The company has recently started its production of organic solar films with the world’s first roll-to-roll production line with vacuum deposition at low temperatures. This state-of-the-art solar technology will allow many industries to reinvent their field of business and develop new applications to support energy transition. Thanks to its unique properties, the solar films can be integrated as energy harvesting components into a number of existing applications. They also allow for completely new applications within various industries that were not possible with traditional PV technologies. Industries such as building and construction, automotive and transport, or electronics and consumer products will benefit from this new development. Furthermore, the organic material, the organic PV technology and the production processes are patented, and so are giving a leading edge to both Saxony and the EU in this new field. Finally, society can benefit from this truly green technology which requires a very little amount of non-toxic material and does not rely on any toxic production processes.

Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek, states: “While we are a solar company, we are not producing modules or panels. Our solar film is an energy harvesting component ready to be integrated in a number of materials and applications such as glass, concrete or polycarbonate. We are delighted to be able to show to the Commissioner today how far we have been able to go with the support of the EU. This is only the beginning for Heliatek. After having proven our technology and our process, we now need to validate our market strategy and develop the sales of our solar films. The continuing support of the Free State of Saxony, Germany and the EU is key to our future success.”

About Heliatek’s organic solar film technology:

The key to Heliatek’s success is the family of small organic molecules – oligomers – developed and synthesized at its own lab in Ulm, Germany.  Heliatek is the only solar company in the world that uses the deposition of small organic molecules in a low temperature, roll-to-roll vacuum process. Its solar tandem cells are made of nanometers-thin layers of high purity and uniformity. This enables the company to literally engineer the cell architecture to systematically improve efficiency and lifespan. This technology is very similar to the well-established OLED technology (organic LEDs) except that it operates in reverse, taking in light to create electricity.  This gives Heliatek access to readily available manufacturing machines, giving it a fast track to reliable, volume production.

About Heliatek:

Heliatek was spun-off in 2006 from the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Ulm. The company is the global leader in the development of organic photovoltaics (OPV) based on small molecules and the manufacture of organic solar films. Heliatek maintains a total staff of some 80 specialists at its facilities in Dresden and Ulm, Germany. Investors in Heliatek include leading industrial and financial companies such as BASF, Bosch, RWE, and Wellington Partners. Research and development work, as well as the installation of production technology, has been funded by the Free State of Saxony, the BMBF (Federal Ministry for Education & Research), the BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) and the European Union. Heliatek is currently working on its first roll-to-roll manufacturing line installed in Dresden, Germany, which went into production in the fourth quarter of 2012. It has also kicked off a third financing round to raise €60 million from current and new investors for a new roll-to-roll 75 MWp production line.

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