October 19, 2016
The French company is ready to release its “flexible energy-generating films”.
Optics.org reported that the Armor Group is “poised to enter the nascent market for organic photovoltaic (OPV) films” and has reportedly invested €40 million ($43 million) and six years of developing the technology. The company has different branches to its business including inkjet cartridges (Armor Office Printing), laser-printed labels and thermal transfer, and has been working with French Research Institutes and a German company, Merck, which was the provider of photoactive polymers.
According to Optics.org, Armor “have not revealed important technical details such as efficiency” nor the cost, but did say that the product “weighs just 500 grams per square metre” and that it has as “annual manufacturing capacity of one million m2 readied to start on its roll-to-roll equipment in January 2017”.
Armor announced in turn that “the first ASCA films are ready to be released and their applications will be progressively unveiled during 2017”, adding that it “already produces more than one billion m2 of thin film material annually”, which could be an advantage in the market. Armor employs 2,000 workers and its turnover in 2015 was €235 million ($258 million), and it has six bases in Europe as well as some in Asia and North America.
The Recycler reported two years ago that Armor revealed it had partnered with Cambrios Technologies Corporation, who produce “silver nanowire-based solutions for the transparent conductor markets”, to develop a “scalable manufacturing process” that allows Armor to “mass produce” organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices that are flexible.
Armor developed and designed “flexible solar modules” using Cambrios’ ClearOhm silver nanowires as electrodes, with OPV technology a “maturing” market that Armor is looking to enter. One of the barriers to achieving “high volume, appropriate costs and required performance” in the market is indium tin oxide (ITO), the traditional conductor used in such devices, and which is “brittle, expensive and not scalable to very large volumes without huge capital investment”.
The two companies’ partnership however was said at the time to have “successfully achieved” a “cost-effective, scalable” production process for the silver nanowire electrodes, which are “not only highly conductive and transparent” but also enable solar cells that are “flexible, foldable, formed into different shapes and even wrapped around a pillar or building”.
Armor stated that it anticipates “the ASCA films to find use in both static and ‘street furniture’ and mobile applications”, and has “has set up a design office” which will be devoted to the development of “custom applications”, which it plans to reveal next year.
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