German government and industry boost new technology

BASF and Bosch are to cooperate in the innovative field of organic photovoltaics (OPV) and are founding members of the technology initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and
Research (BMBF). At an event held in the Neue B?, the Frankfurt stock exchange’s head office, the government and its partners from industry pledged to invest in research to promote the new
technology, which is aimed at making the manufacture of solar cells much more cost-effective and at the same time increasing the number of areas of application. Last year, photovoltaic modules
had a global market volume of €8 billion. The segment is expected to grow by more than 20
percent annually until 2020. The BMBF will provide €60 million for research to develop this
highly attractive market, while the initiative’s current industry partners – which include, alongside BASF and Bosch, Merck (Darmstadt) and Schott (Mainz) – plan to spend up to
€300 million. “The initiative to promote organic photovoltaics is an example of how we
combine our strengths to invest in new technologies. Our high-tech strategy is aimed at strengthening Germany’s role as a business location”, said Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister for
Research, at the launch of the new initiative.

Organic photovoltaics is the term used to describe solar cells based on organic semi-conductive materials that can generate electricity from light. This means that in the future they could
replace the silicon that is used today. The aim is to use new materials, production processes and installation technologies to make the organic solar cells more efficient and cost effective in
the long term. The new technology will thus pave the way for sustainable energy production and make solar power more competitive.

Organic solar cells are flexible and as thin as a sheet protector. They are both light and color tunable, which enables them, for example, to be used in foldable cell phone chargers, for
example, or on car roofs. Their main area of application is expected to be in the construction industry from 2015 onwards, where the cells will be used in the form of a thin layer of plastic on
roofs, windows or facades.

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