L R AS Published on Sunday 18 February 2024 - n° 476 - Categories:various sectors, Europe

1st article, Can large factories prosper in Europe?

With the future production of gigafactories in France scheduled for 2025 and 2027, PV Magazine looks at the chances of success for these projects.

The Chinese are investing heavily in research.

LONGi invests between 5 and 7% of its sales in innovation. It is conducting research into the rear contact of panels, perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells, where it is achieving an efficiency of 33.9% announced for the end of 2023, and 4T cells. It's true that LONGi is the Chinese company that invests the most in R&D, with the others devoting only between 1% and 3% of their revenues.

The chairman of the Carbon gigafactor wants to devote 3% of future sales to R&D, or several tens of millions of euros a year. He insists on working with various research institutes, including CEA-Liten, which is dedicated to the energy transition, and with equipment manufacturers such as Meyer Burger, ECM and Semco, which have expertise in HJT, TOPCon and perovskite technologies.

" The battle is far from lostadmits David Duca, head of the solar technologies department at CEA-Liten. It's up to us to be more creative and find new ways of differentiating ourselves. There is strong demand from our industrial partners to work on manufacturing processes, deposition speeds and cell integration. The CEA is evaluating CSS (Close Spaced Sublimation) technology. This is a near plasma technique that enables a wide range of materials to be deposited very uniformly. Downstream, the CEA is also looking to improve ALD (atomic layer deposition) technology, which is already mature but still has great potential for increasing deposition speed.

"One of the huge advantages of Chinese industry, apart from the fact that the value chain is fully integrated and controlled, is that the research laboratories are located in the production plants. This means we can work on scaling up and integrating new products into processes by testing them at real production rates," points out François Legalland, Director of CEA-Liten. This is what the Holosolis gigafactory wants to replicate, with a 2T cell research laboratory on the premises.


PV Magazine of 13 February 2024

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