A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Vitex Systems and Battelle Memorial Institute will see researchers at the U.S. DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) create low-cost flexible PV panels by adapting a film encapsulation process currently used to coat flat panel displays that use organic light-emitting diodes. The Barix™ Encapsulation and Barix™ Barrier Film are already proven and effective moist ure barriers. Researchers will focus on applying the technology to solar panels made with copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride. The agreement also calls for researchers to develop a manufacturing process for the panels that can be readily adapted to large-scale production. If successful, this process will reduce solar panel manufacturing costs to less than $1 per watt of power.

The U.S. DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technology Commercialization Fund is providing $350,000 for the project with a $350,900 US matching contribution of in-kind labor, equipment and materials from Vitex. Battelle, which operates PNNL for the federal government is also a majority shareholder of Vitex. (Source: Science Daily, June 8, 2009)

Contact: Mark Gross, Senior Research Engineer, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, PNNL, (509) 375-6880, mark.gross@pnl.gov, www.pnl.gov; Martin Rosenblum, VP, Operations and Engineering, Vitex Systems, (408) 519-4400, www.vitexsys.com, Battelle Memorial Institute, www.battelle.org.