PVs constitute one of the main technologies to achieve the targets defined by the EU Energy Roadmap 2050, to reduce the greenhouse emissions to 80-95% below 1990 levels, and increase the share of renewables in the energy production mix to 75%. In addition, thin film PV technologies will be of key importance in the future integration of PV in residential and industrial/commercial buildings (BIPV) as well as in the automotive sector (AIPV). Thin film PV production currently uses two raw materials (In and Ga) which are listed as Critical Raw Materials (CRM) in the European Commission's Review of the list of critical raw materials for the European Union (COM(2014) 297). Therefore, for the consolidation of independent and secure European PV technology, and to meet our greenhouse and energy supply commitments, it is essential to overcome the PV CRM constraint.
Starcell project framed in the H2020 European program aim to get rid of the CRM and substitute them for Kesterites, which are formed from low toxicity metals (Cu, Sn, and Zn) and are abundant in the earth's crust. This offers a secure supply chain because the production of these metals are not controlled by any one country. Kesterites constitute the most rational and realistic option for PV Industry beyond Si-based technologies, because they have demonstrated very good stability at lab scale. Kesterites also have a realistic potential to achieve the efficiency levels required for transfer of the processes to relevant industrial environments in the short term. Kesterite technology is also fully compatible with current Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) production lines, ensuring that European producers of CIGS technologies can easily introduce the kesterite technology.
In this frame, STARCELL targets the optimisation of the material processes and the device interfaces to achieve a challenging solar cell efficiency of 18% (16% for a 10x10 cm2 area mini-module) by the end of the project.
Ayesa's participation in the project is framed as follows:
1) Technical validation: once different pilot modules have been developed, Ayesa will take advantage of its knowledge in the photovoltaic sector to validate the new panels under real production enviroment.
2) Exploitation of results: Ayesa leads the EIB (Exploitation and Innovation Board) with the objective of managing the exploitation of STARCELL results. During the course of the project, the TRL of the study products will be increased to be included in the market, and the knowledge generated in the project follows the roadmap to contribute to the EU's energy progress.