Solar film manufacturer Heliatek awarded Technology Pioneer

Heliatek’s production line, which uses a roll-to-roll process using vacuum deposition at low temperatures to manufacture the solar film. (Photo: Tim Deussen, Berlin)
Heliatek’s production line, which uses a roll-to-roll process using vacuum deposition at low temperatures to manufacture the solar film. (Photo: Tim Deussen, Berlin)

The German company Heliatek was awarded as one of the “Technology Pioneers” by the World Economic Forum. The company produces flexible photovoltaic solar films, which are less than 1 mm thick.

A selection committee of 68 academics, entrepreneurs and corporate executives chose Heliatek as one of the winners from several hundred applicants. The committee based its decisions on criteria such as how innovative the technology is, what its potential long-term impact on business and society might be and the viability of a company or project.

The Dresden-based company is a spin-off from two German universities, the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Ulm, and started commercialization of its organic solar films in July 2014. To produce the flexible solar films, organic molecules are applied to a simple PET film via a roll-to-roll process in vacuum and inert atmosphere.

The ultra-thin solar films, which the company calls “HeliaFilm”, from the production line. The films weigh only 500 g/m² and are less than 1 mm thick. (Photo: Tim Deussen, Berlin)

For non-transparent organic solar cells, Heliatek holds a record of 12 % cell efficiency in the lab. For commercial production the efficiency is currently around 7 to 8 %. So far, semi-transparent cells with an opacity of 50 % have an efficiency of approximately 6 %.

Thibaud Le Séguillon, Heliatek CEO, remarks, "We are delighted to be recognized by The World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer. We have developed a groundbreaking technology and manufacturing process that will have a significant impact on the way energy is produced. By integrating our solar films to building facades, we turn these into localized power stations."

As a Technology Pioneer, Heliatek will have the opportunity to apply for participation in World Economic Forum activities. This includes the “Summer Davos” meeting and the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, and the annual meeting of the New Champions in China, where the company will be able to discuss future technological advances with executives, scientists, government leaders and NGOs.

Technology Pioneers of recent years include Airbnb in 2014, Soundcloud in 2013, Kickstarter and Dropbox in 2012, and even Google in 2001. Usually, winners will stay in the network for five years. On the World Economic Forum’s website you can find all the 49 Technology Pioneers awarded in 2015 with a short introduction about what they do.

Tanja Peschel


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