RBI and Solvis in R&D Project to Develop a Third-Generation Solar Cells
Croatian solar photovoltaic (PV) cell producer Solvis and the country’s internationally competitive Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) will work on the development of innovative PV cells and modules in 2019 under a joint project worth nearly EUR 2 million, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Attending the launch of the project were Assistant Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Zvonimir Novak, Marijana Oreb, Member of the Board of HAMAG - BICRO and Mislav Jurišić, Director of the Grant Supporting Sector - Research, Development and Innovation (IRI), HAMAG - BICRO.
Under this research and development (R&D) project co-financed by the ERDF, the RBI and Solvis will seek to develop PV cells and modules more efficient than the existing ones by using nanostructured materials and plasmonic effects.
During the project launch ceremony, the RBI Director General, Dr. David M. Smith indicated that this project is a great example of the use of EU funds for promoting excellent science and industrial leadership. He emphasized that the Institute has the necessary knowledge, human resources and research capacities to conduct research which companies are not able to carry out independently. As an example he pointed out that within this project, scientists will use the existing RBI capital equipment to conduct research and development of new materials and technologies, which will then be applied by partners from SOLVIS in their production processes of solar cells and modules.
"The added value of this project is its multidisciplinary. In addition to physicists and chemists, the project will gather researchers dealing with computer science. Actually, the multidisciplinary character of the research, valuable intellectual resources and sophisticated scientific equipment are comparative advantage of our Institute, which make it a desirable partner to the industry, " concluded Dr. Smith.
The project brings together sixteen scientists from three RBI laboratories, the Laboratory for Thin Films, led by Dr. Maja Buljan, Laboratory for Energy Conversion Materials and Sensors, led by Dr. Andreja Gajović and the Laboratory for optics and optical thin films, led by Dr. Jordi Sancho Parramon.
Solvis will play a key role in applying RBI’s scientific and technological innovation in production processes and creating the final product.
“We believe this is the beginning of a long-term cooperation on innovative and green technologies. We aim to achieve the major technological breakthrough by using the technology we will develop in cooperation with our colleagues from the RBI. We plan to use this technological advancement and novelties in our production process. It is expected that the project will help boost competitiveness, diversfy the product range, and increase the production volume by about 45% over 10 years, with new and improved products. At the same time, the project will help further development of the company’s R&D capacities enabling a faster adaptation to new market demands and swifter sales on the world market,” said Solvis CTO Ivan Vadla.
At the project’s presentation, Vadla said that Solvis seeks to make headway in the next three years in the development of third-generation PV cells to enable it to produce solar roof tiles, facade panels, and other construction materials.
The RBI has four contracted projects within IRI program with a total value of around HRK 35 million. Such projects play a key role in the process of strengthening the country`s competitiveness by boosting innovations and new products. These projects confirm that a competitive economy based on innovative products can only be achieved through systematic policy, with the focus on stronger funding for education, science and the economy.
The project is funded under European Regional Development Fund, within the call "Increasing the development of new products and services deriving from research and development activities" (IRI), implemented by the Croatian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts (MINGO) and the Croatian Agency for SMSs, Innovations and Investments (HAMAG – BICRO).