“We have films with 30% transparency in production and in the lab we can go to 50%, but after that it’s difficult to justify the use of the film as you are not using the light to generate enough electricity,” said Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Heliatek. “We talk to our glass partner because we could deposit our material directly on glass and it makes sense if all the windows were the same but they need the flexibility of the film size to put it everywhere in the market.”
The company is addressing this transparency issue with new molecules to harvest non-visible infrared and ultraviolet light. The recent €80m investment in a new manufacturing line will allow all three to be used in one film that can easily fit on standard sized windows.
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“We have developed molecules for IR and we are about to start upscaling that production,” said Le Séguillon. “We have a few candidates in our labs for UV but we need to qualify those. We can use these molecules in the new machine. The current production line is tandem with two molecules, but the new machine will have three absorbers so we can use three times one or three different one, IR, deep UV and visible – that’s where we will have the greatest efficiency to boost the transparency without cutting the power generation.”
The new 1.2m wide manufacturing line will be installed in Dresden over the next 18 months.