German chemicals group BASF and automotive ancillaries and engineering group Bosch have decided to cooperate in the innovative field of organic photovoltaics. Along with pharma company Merck and glassmaker Schott, they have become founding members of a technology initiative of Germany's federal ministry of education and research (BMBF), which will invest in research to expand the applications of solar cell manufacture and reduce their costs.
The ministry will provide €60 million for research to develop this market, and the industry up to €300 million.
"The initiative to promote organic photovoltaics is an example of how we combine our strengths to invest in new technologies," said Dr. Annette Schavan, German federal minister for research, at the launch of the new initiative.To further develop the new technology, BASF and Bosch are also cooperating on special research activities with the Dresden-based company Heliatek GmbH; each of them is investing €1.6 million in the start-up company, founded in 2006. The other investors are Wellington Partners and the 'High-Tech Gründerfonds'. Heliatek specialises in the manufacture of new-generation organic solar cells. The company is working on an ultra-efficient technology to build large-scale modules on cheap, flexible substrates using a roll-to-roll production process.