Eight19 Limited, a Cambridge, UK-based new solar energy company which will develop and manufacture high performance, lower cost plastic solar cells, has received a £4.5m investment from the Carbon Trust and Rhodia, an international specialty chemicals company.
The company, which spun-out from the Carbon Trust’s Cambridge University-TTP Advanced Photovoltaic Research Accelerator, will use the capital to develop product prototypes.
Eight19, so called as it takes 8 minutes and 19 seconds for light to travel from the sun to the earth, has been created in partnership with Professor Sir Richard Friend, Professor Henning Sirringhaus and Professor Neil Greenham of Cambridge’s internationally renowned Cavendish Laboratory, and technology development company TTP.
Eight19’s focus on the low cost potential of solar cells made with semiconducting plastics (also known as organic photovoltaics) is built on the Cavendish Laboratory’s capability to develop techniques for fabricating large scale plastic electronic devices on flexible materials using roll-to-roll processes.
The company will continue to be actively engaged with the Cavendish and its innovative research output.
The Eight19 team is pursuing a design-for-manufacture strategy that focuses on the unique attributes of organic photovoltaics, combining both specific product performance characteristics and low cost of energy.
Unlike other more familiar thin film solar platforms, organic solar cells are not inherently limited by constraints around material supply and toxicity, and benefit from a number of fundamental advantages including potentially very low cost production enabled by low temperature and high throughput processing typical of plastic films. Organic solar cells potentially deliver further value throughout the supply chain, from ease of installation for construction companies to producers seeking simplified manufacturing integration.