Solar Oxides, flexible photovoltaic solar cells created through 3D printing
Spanish tech company Oxolutia has developed Solar Oxides, flexible photovoltaic solar cells that can be manufactured by 3D printing. Using conductive oxides, a non-toxic, stable, and low-cost material found abundantly in nature, the cells open up exciting new opportunities for generating low-cost solar energy.
Oxolutia is a technology-based spin-off of the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB) that aims to conduct research and bring to market processes and materials in the field of applied superconductivity and nanotechnology. In order to create the flexible solar cells, the engineering team utilized 3D inkjet printing, which allows drop-wise deposition of liquids onto surfaces, combined with chemical solution deposition approaches for producing oxide thin films. They believe this is a technology that will open new avenues for digital fabrication, graded materials, and additive manufacturing. Having developed the pilot plant in 2013, they expect to have a workable prototype by next year.
The project has been selected by Repsol as one of nine winners of the 2015 Fundación Repsol Entrepreneurs Fund. Repsol is one of the world’s largest energy groups committed to renewable sources and preserving the environment, and their Fund, now in its fourth year, is aimed at entrepreneurs dedicated to improving the field of energy efficiency and energy saving with innovative technological projects.