Acrylic sheet and compounds supplier Evonik Cyro LLC has formed an alliance with 10X Technology LLC (Libertyville, IL), which develops micro- and nano-structured polymer substrates, to commercialize surface-enhanced acrylic materials for the photovoltaic market. First up will be co-development of lenses that improve the performance of energy-related products such as solar energy systems and interior lighting.
Products the companies will co-develop include solar concentrator lenses, which improve the efficiency of solar cell systems by focusing sunlight on a selected area of semiconductor material. These concentrated photovoltaics (CPVs) are a rapidly emerging field within the solar power industry as they work to greatly increase the relative energy output for a given area of space.
The two companies want not only to develop but also to market photovoltaic lenses, and claim that because of their ability to link research and production, they will be able to offer a stronger warranty than other suppliers which are focused solely on production of these lenses.
"One of the great challenges for industry today is to increase the relative efficiency of the material we produce and consume," said Bob Pricone, president of 10X Technology. "Plastic or glass can function as the exterior surface of a solar cell system, but just imagine if that same surface could also concentrate sunlight. In the same dimensional space, we could increase energy production by several multiples. This is a great example of how to improve the efficiency of renewable energy sources while also reducing the carbon footprint."