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14 December 2009


CPV system maker Circadian and Radboud University form tf2 devices

Circadian Solar of Coventry, UK, which is developing concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) systems incorporating gallium arsenide multi-junction photovoltaic cells, and Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands have formed the joint venture tf2 devices to develop thin-film III-V technology for use in solar cells. The aim is to match the record conversion efficiency of III-V solar cells (which is greater than 41%), while reducing the cost of manufacture.

Radboud University has developed a unique technology to lower costs by using epitaxial lift-off to remove a complete, fully functional thin-film solar cell from the expensive III-V substrate, which can then be reused.

“We have been collaborating with the team there for almost two years, and have already developed an excellent relationship,” says Circadian’s CEO Dr Robin Godfrey about Radboud University Nijmegen. “The group of Dr John Schermer has been pioneering the field of III-V thin-film technology and holds the world record for single-junction GaAs photovoltaic thin-film cell efficiency [raised from its previous record of 24.5% to 25.9% in July 2008].” The joint venture represents an opportunity to bring the technology to market and work more closely with the team at Radboud University Nijmegen, he adds. Schermer holds key patents, which will be available to tf2 devices.

“As the proportion of energy generated from solar power increases worldwide, the drive towards higher efficiency at lower cost will become even more important,” says professor Elias Vlieg of Radboud University Nijmegen. “tf2 devices’ technology is well-positioned to play a significant role in helping the world to meet its growing energy needs,” he reckons.

“STW’s focus is towards basic scientific research that has a strong potential for real-world application,” says Huub Eggen at Technology Foundation STW, a major funder of the research. “Our mission is to realize knowledge transfer between applied sciences and potential knowledge users,” he adds. “tf2 devices has the potential to make a big impact on energy generation and on reduction of carbon emissions internationally.”

See related item:

Circadian Solar secures second, £2m tranche of £8m investment

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