Project team

The BOOSTER consortium is a blend of leading research institutes in their field combined with private companies and SMEs capable of producing large-scale materials, barrier films and Roll-2-Roll manufactured OPVs.

ARMOR was created in 1922 in Nantes and today employs around 1,900 people worldwide (700 in France) at 8 production sites. It is established all over the world: Africa, America, Asia and Europe. ARMOR is the world leader in Thermal Transfer (77% of sales) and the European leader in office supplies (remanufacturing ink cartridges).

In 2010, ARMOR launched a new activity called ASE (Armor Sustainable Energy), specifically on the market for organic photovoltaic solar films (OPV) and energy storage devices (current collectors for batteries and supercapacitors). On the OPV part, since 2010, ARMOR has structured a team, now composed of 40 people and organized into complementary skill blocks. The main feature of the OPV is its ability to implement by rotary processes (R2R), which opens up prospects for mass production and low cost, which should allow these technologies to spread widely. OPV cells, mainly composed of organic chemical compounds (carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, etc.) such as polymers, also have a no. of additional advantages such as low manufacturing costs, flexibility and lightweight.

These properties make it possible to consider their use in applications for which silicon is not suitable, such as consumer electronics, or for integration into flexible products for building or leisure. In January 2017, the organic photovoltaic film production line is operational, and ARMOR has started marketing first products incorporating these ultra-light, flexible and low-carbon solar panels. This production line is sized to allow coatings up to 600mm wide and has an annual capacity of about 1 million m².

ARMOR is the coordinator of the project. ARMOR and its subsidiary ARMOR Solar Power Films dedicated to OPV activity are engaged in several tasks and work packages, lead the definition of the specification, work on development of highly stable OPV at labscale and produce large-scale high performance and stable OPV devices (roll-to-roll manufacturing, BAPV demonstration).

ARMOR is the current industrial leader in the field of OPV. The company is already engaged in several H2020 projects as partner. The aim of ARMOR is now to coordinate a project which ambitiously focuses on the reduction of the cost of production, significant improvement of the performances and lifetime of OPV devices. ARMOR has high level expertise and infrastructure in formulation as well in industrial processes to lead and contribute to these tasks.

Avantama Ltd. was founded in 2008 as a spin-off company from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Avantama currently has 15 employees and is a leader in the tailor-made development of specialty nano-particles and inorganic inks for printed electronics. With its unique and versatile technology, Avantama is able to custom develop coating formulations yielding novel materials with unique electronic properties. Avantama’s know-how enables very short development cycles thus efficient and focused materials development. Avantama has developed metal oxide nanoparticle-based inks enabling solution processing of inorganic thin layers in photovoltaics (e.g. OPV), OLED and electrochromic applications. One of the advantages of these inks is their compatibility with polymeric substrates and a curing temperature as low as 80°C. Based on the printable inorganic ink, adaptations and optimization of the physical properties (e.g. conductivity) can be made in a straight-forward way.

Avantama’s role in the project is the development of electronically fine-tuned inorganic colloidal formulations for large-scale processing of charge transport layers by R2R enabling NFA devices with extended lifetime and high performance. Avantama is also focusing on low-cost, low-temperature processing and scalability.

In particular pure or metal-doped earth-abundant oxides selected from tungsten oxide (WOx), titanium oxide (TiOx), nickel oxide (NiOx), zinc oxide (ZnO) or tin oxide (SnO2) can be synthesized by Avantama by its very flexible and scalable synthesis technique called flame spray pyrolysis. This process yields nanopowders with reproducible crystallite size, size distribution and crystal phase. At first stage nanopowders with specific compositions and crystallite sizes will be developed on R&D scale in order to find optimized nanopowder compositions leading to the best device performance. In the second stage a selection of well-performing nanopowders will be upscaled to the kilogram-scale (transfer from R&D scale reactor to production reactor) in order to prove the industrial and commercial readiness of nanomaterial supply. Avantama has already upscaled the flame spray synthesis process to an annual capacity of around 1t of dry nanopowder which corresponds to about 3kg of dry nanopowder per day. Additionally, Avantama is also capable of transferring such nanopowder quantities into liquid suspensions which are needed to deposited/coat functional nanoparticle thin films.

DuPont Teijin Films (DTF) is a 50:50 joint venture between DuPont and Teijin. DuPont Teijin Films is a world’s leading supplier of PET and PEN polyester films and specialises in film products and related services for the specialty, industrial, packaging and advanced magnetic media and photo systems, electrical and electronics markets. The company has reported sales of $1.1 billion and employs about 3,000 people with dedicated marketing, technical and manufacturing operations in every region of the world. DTF (UK) reported a turnover of £83 million and has 375 employees.

DTF technology group at Wilton comprises ca 65 technical personnel and is a major global DTF research centre. The Centre has a 1m wide semi tech facility which makes film of a commercial quality. This unit will be used to support film development.

DTF will produce the plastic substrate for barrier deposition, thereby developing the surface quality to ensure a high-performance monolayer barrier is ensured. DTF has a pilot line for developing experimental films, a metrology lab and a route to scale up for commercialisation of substrates.

Brilliant Matters (BM) is a Canadian company located in Québec city offering contract research and manufacturing services for the printed and organic electronics industry. BM uses innovations in material and organic chemistry to provide unique R&D and production solutions and overcome barriers to the commercialization of technologies such as organic photovoltaics, organic light emitting diodes, electrochromic devices and field effect transistors.

BM’s expertise and its patented production method allow to find efficient answers to chemistry-related problems and help you get new, more competitive products. As a company, BM values long term partnerships and always seeks mutually beneficial business opportunities.

The main tasks of BM in the project are:

  • Synthetic scheme optimization
  • Scale-up procedure development
  • Cost analysis
  • Feasibility study of the materials production

BM can produce materials for organic electronics, with strict quality control procedures and innovative production methods that give materials of consistent quality. BM also has a unique experience in organic semiconductor purification and scale-up which is essential to the project in order to ensure a steady supply of one of the essential components producing the next generation of solar cells: the light absorber. BM is well qualified to deal with the economical aspect of the production of such material to help select those with the potential to reach the price target and the performance needed.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology (FEP) is one of 69 research institutes within the Fraunhofer Society, the largest society for applied research in Europe. The core competences of the FEP are electron beam technologies, vacuum thin film deposition techniques (Sputtering, Evaporation and PECVD) and technologies for manufacturing vacuum-deposited small molecule organic electronic devices in sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll processing on pilot scale. The department “Plasma Technology” is active in the field of vacuum deposition using sheet-2-sheet and roll-2-roll deposition methods. FEP has made substantial contributions for the industrial application of vacuum thin film deposition processes such as reactive-pulsed magnetron sputtering and high-rate evaporation for a wide range of high-volume application products e.g. flat glass, coated polymer webs and optical components. FEP has strong experience in the field of gas barrier coating technologies from food packaging grade up to barrier films for high-end applications, including encapsulation of flexible electronic devices. The FEP infrastructure includes several large area sheet and web coaters available to facilitate technology scale-up from lab (200 mm web width) up to pilot production scale (600 mm web width).

Fraunhofer FEP will contribute to BOOSTER its expertise in permeation barrier coatings, and design, development and process scaling of solar encapsulation frontsheets. Consequently, Fraunhofer FEP will be the WP leader for work package 3 “Next Generation Multifunctional Frontsheet and Backsheet”. Main tasks will be the adapted design, scaling and ageing testing and verification of solar frontsheets.

Founded in 1743, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) is now one of the largest research universities in Germany with 38,771 students. The five faculties cover the entire spectrum of modern academic disciplines – from humanities, social sciences and theology to medicine, law, economics, sciences and engineering. The Faculty of Engineering addresses fundamental research and investigates areas which are of commercial and technological interest. Its Research Focus Areas are: new materials and processes, life science engineering and medical engineering, modelling and simulation, energy technology and mobility, optical technologies, information and communication technology, and micro- and nanotechnology. These areas involve a considerable amount of interdisciplinary dialogue between various subjects and institutions. Some of the outstanding projects at the Faculty of Engineering include the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ and the Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies.

The department “Materials Science” covers the entire range of materials science research. It is unique to the Department that there are chairs for the most important material classes. In addition, both science-oriented research as well as the engineering-scientific side of materials technology are represented. Among the expressed focus research programmes are energy materials and especially photovoltaics a highly visible research field in Erlangen.

The institute Materials for Electronics and Energy Technology (i-MEET) of the Department of Materials Science at FAU has an outstanding strong research and development record in the field of optoelectronic semiconductors for renewable energy applications. Over the last years, i-MEET has become famous for the contributions in solution processing of photovoltaics (organics, hybrid, perovskites, emerging materials, …) and the transfer of novel materials towards production. I-MEET is operating in cooperation with partners (i) the Solar Factory of the Future (SFF), a one MW pilot line for printed photovoltaics, (ii) the Extreme Accelerated Lifetime Lab (X-ALT), where solar cells can be stressed with up to 700 suns and (iii) the autonomous materials and device research platform (AMANDA), where robot based processing allows to investigate hundred´s of solar cell variations per day.

Within the project, i-MEET will concentrate on the photo- and device physics of novel organic semiconductors allowing to go beyond the 20 % efficiency milestone. A central point will be the design and investigation of novel donor / acceptor composites with minimized open circuit voltage losses without scarifying quantum efficiency and to further demonstrate that these material systems are environmentally long time stable. The correlation between indoor lifetimes and outdoor lifetimes will be a further task. The activities will be complemented by supporting the installation of an OPV façade at the university campus in Erlangen.

Imperial College London (ICL) is consistently ranked within the top three/twenty universities in the UK/World and has a reputation for excellence in Science, Technology and Medical research and education, with 13,000 students and 6,000 staff. The College has made significant recent investments to create one of the largest global research efforts in the field of organic electronics, encompassing some 25 academics and about 150 pre- and post-doctoral researchers across the departments of Physics, Chemistry and Materials. The current Centre for Plastic Electronics (CPE) research activities, financially supported by the College, occupy recently substantially refurbished and well-equipped laboratory space in Physics/Chemistry/Materials and have access to two state of the art clean rooms. Imperial is also the host for the UK’s only dedicated centre for training PhD students in plastic electronics, EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronic Materials.

The Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (STUBA) is attended by almost 18,000 students and belongs to the leading university in microelectronics education and R&D activities in the New EU Member States. The Institute of Electronics and Photonics of STUBA is active in a field of microelectronics, photonics and sensorics. Its membership in EUROPRACTICE provides access to advanced TCAD modelling and simulation as well as IC design tools. Structure and device characterization and failure analysis either by electrical or analytical and microscopical tools is another strong field of the Institute’s activity. The comparison and good correlation of experimental and simulated results is used for physical models calibration, physical interpretation of obtained experimental results and prediction of the properties of new semiconductor devices and IC‘s. The actual activities comprise thin-film sensors and subsequent signal processing for healthcare and environmental applications, analogue and mixed-signal design, smart power MOS device design and characterisation, GaN-based devices, organic semiconductor transistors and LED‘s, diamond and carbon nanotubes growth. There are about 50 teachers and researchers and 30 PhD students at the Institute. They actively participated in the 5th, 6th and 7th FP projects, H2020 as well as NATO and COST projects. More than 20 projects funded by national authorities and/or within bilateral international collaboration are being solved at the Institute yearly.

STUBA’s main role will be in device testing and life-cycle assessment of organic photovoltaics devices fabricated by project partners. Main task will be life-span evaluation in well-defined environments and under various conditions (i.e. accelerated aging). STUBA will also focus on the specification of electrical, optical and analytical characterisation methods to identify various defects and critical regions, definition, specs and requirements for functional and reliability tests for organic solar cells and lifetime sensing ability with a focus on the impact of the ambient environment. STUBA will work on the study of cost-lowering strategy since despite all such advancements in OPV technology the trade-off among cost lowering and efficiency enhancement remains challenging.

Eni S.p.A. (www.eni.com) is an integrated energy company established in 1953. It is active in 70 countries with a staff of around 33,000 around the world, with legal office in Rome (Italy) and branches in San Donato Milanese (Italy).

Eni started a new course in the strategy of technological innovation and in R&D management, making it a pillar of the broader strategy of Eni’s sustainable development, with the ultimate goal to make the company a leader of technological innovation in oil & gas, environment and the most advanced frontiers of renewables. In line with the outcomes of the Paris Agreement (COP 21, December 2015), Eni is committed towards a progressive change in its business model shifting from being an oil-based company to being an energy company. This transition will entail an increasingly stronger focus on low-carbon and low-impact technologies for electricity generation. PV represents a key technology in this energy transition. Eni has recently launched a number of large-scale renewable energy projects. In Italy the company has started an important initiative called “Progetto Italia” to make use of Eni’s decommissioned industrial land to implement renewable energy projects.

The Research Center for Renewable Energies and Environment (formerly, Istituto Guido Donegani, founded in 1941) is the Eni research center devoted to renewable energy research with a staff of approx. 100 people. The research activities on new generation solar cells led during the last decade to more than 30 patents and more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

AMIRES, The business innovation management institute is a non-profit institute that has been founded with the goal to manage national and internal R&D&I projects, to promote different funding opportunities for these projects, to disseminate information and organize events as well as to develop new methods of data acquisition, processing and visualization and testing of their usability. The institute provides the necessary strategic and administrative support to high quality international teams to achieve their objectives and facilitates the research-industrial and research-policy making interface. ABIMI follows projects from their initiation and planning, through negotiation, execution, promotion of results and management to the final stage, where exploitation of new technologies, products or services is facilitated. ABIMI is based in the Czech Republic but provides its services all around Europe. The institute builds its knowledge on the long track of successful experience in European R&D&I of its founder AMIRES s.r.o.

Within the project ABIMI will be actively involved in the administrative project management tasks and will be responsible for the dissemination and exploitation activities. The institute will support the coordinator and WP leaders with assistance needed for seamless project execution, timely reporting and budget follow-up. Moreover, ABIMI will support coordination of project meetings and dissemination (e.g. webpage, press releases, and leaflets).

University of Oxford (UO) (www.ox.ac.uk) is one of the world’s foremost science and technology research universities, consistently ranked within the top five universities in the World. UO has a reputation for excellence in research and education, with 24,000 students and 14,000 staff. The university hosts multiple researchers across the departments of natural sciences seen as world class leaders in organic electronics and novel solar cell technologies. It also hosts members of the Centre for Doctoral Training in New and Sustainable Photovoltaics as well as the Centre for Processable Electronics.

University of Oxford will lead the design of new high performing organic semiconducting non fullerene acceptor (NFA) small molecules for application in organic photovoltaic devices. This will involve two parallel synthetic objectives, namely to design high performing analogues to the Y6 molecule (which is currently exhibiting extremely high power conversion efficiencies when combined with a low bandgap donor polymer), and additionally to design and screen new acceptor molecules to be employed as a third component in ternary devices Starting from the IDTBR design template, new non-fullerene acceptors will be synthesised, employing design strategies underpinned by backbone rigidification through non-covalent interactions, molecular orbital hybridisation and side chain optimisation. This effort will also include feasibility studies regarding scalability of the synthetic routes, ultimately in collaboration with Brilliant Matters, to demonstrate manufacture at the kilo scale.