Akzo Nobel and Shell to jointly develop low cost solar panels
Akzo Nobel and Shell Renewables have signed a joint development
agreement to pilot a low-cost process of mass-producing flexible
panels. If the pilot project proves successful, it could help to
of the main hurdles to widespread application of solar photovoltaics
Currently solar panels have to be manufactured from expensive
such as pure silicon, glass and metals, and using labour-intensive
processes. The new process to be tested by Shell and Akzo Nobel
Arnhem, Netherlands, takes mass-production methods to apply a special
'solar cell coating', 20 times thinner than a human hair, to rolls
of flexible foil
substrates on a virtually continuous basis.
"We believe that solar power is going to be one of the fastest
primary sources of energy," said Philippe de Renzy Martin,
Chief Operating Officer. "The market for solar power is forecast
to grow at
16-25% per year. Faster and cheaper production methods, coupled
flexible solar panels could help to stimulate broader market introduction
allowing cost effective integration into existing solar products,
wall materials as well as opening up new applications."
In order to speed up this development, Akzo Nobel and Shell are
participating in a parallel programme with the Technical Universities
and Eindhoven, the Utrecht University, TNO (The Netherlands Organisation
for Applied Scientific Research) and ECN (Energy Research Centre
Netherlands), in the Netherlands. The Dutch Government Energy Ecology
and Technology programme, NOVEM (the Dutch agency for energy and
environment) and the European Union are supporting this programme.
Akzo Nobel, based in the Netherlands, serves customers throughout
world with healthcare products, coatings and chemicals. Consolidated
sales for 2000 totalled EUR 14 billion (US$13 billion, UK£8.5
Company currently employs 67,500 people in more than 75 countries.
Financial results for the third quarter of 2001 will be published
Shell Renewables was set up by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in
develop the commercial opportunities of renewable energy such as
and solar PV. In April 2001 entered into a joint venture with Siemens
one of the leading solar energy companies in the world.