Trade Resources Industry Views Flisom Has Raised Substantial Funding to Further Develop Its Technology

Flisom Has Raised Substantial Funding to Further Develop Its Technology

Flisom AG of Duebendorf, Zurich, which was spun off from the Laboratory of Solid State Physics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) in 2005 to develop technologies for industrial roll-to-roll manufacturing of flexible thin-film copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) solar modules, says that it has raised substantial funding to further develop its technology and build a production plant with an annual capacity of 15MW in Switzerland. The firm has also signed an agreement with the interdisciplinary research institute Empa (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) to provide R&D support on high-efficiency flexible CIGS solar cell technology.

Flisom’s third funding round was completed with participation from a Swiss investor along with existing strategic investor Tata, India’s largest company.

“This new investment marks investors’ satisfaction with Flisom’s progress towards the development of industrial manufacturing technology for roll-to-roll production of flexible solar modules,” says Flisom’s interim CEO Marc Kaelin. “The 15MW plant will serve as a blueprint towards the establishment of larger-scale plants to manufacture flexible solar modules at low cost,” he adds.

“We admire the team and technology, based on a record setting efficiency of over 20% for CIGS from Empa, which we hope will be scaled up successfully,” comments Tata Industries’ executive director K.R.S. Jamwal. “The funding will enable Flisom to purchase equipment and hire more experts to convert an innovative Swiss technology into an industrial reality.”

Flisom reckons that its products, processes and systems could lower the price of solar electricity through low material usage, economic production technology, and reduced storage, transportation and installation costs. Markets addressable by the flexible solar module manufacturing technology include utility-scale solar farms, building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), building-applied photovoltaics (BAPV), transportation, portable power and electronics.

The roll-to-roll manufacturing of flexible solar modules involves deposition of CIGS thin films onto polymer foil. Since being spun off by ETH Zurich, Flisom has developed proprietary manufacturing tools and processes. After moving to Empa’s Dübendorf campus, Flisom has been collaborating with Empa’s Laboratory for Thin Films and Photovoltaics, led by Ayodhya Nath Tiwari, through various projects. On 17 January, Empa announced that its CIGS flexible solar cells had achieved photovoltaic conversion efficiency of 20.4% – a record for CIGS technology that equals the record efficiency of polycrystalline silicon wafer solar cells.

“Scale-up for large-area solar modules and adapting these complex innovative processes for industrial manufacturability is quite a challenge and requires close collaboration between research labs and industrial partner,” notes Pierangelo Groening, head of the Department of Advanced Materials and Surfaces and member of Empa’s board of directors.

“Therefore, Empa and Flisom have signed a collaboration agreement on certain topics of flexible CIGS technology, and Empa has deputed Tiwari for a part-time involvement as senior strategic officer to support Flisom’s further development, a move that is instrumental to Empa’s long-term strategy to support early-stage companies with global market ambitions,” says Empa’s CEO Gian-Luca Bona. “This is a very special way of technology transfer – by way of sharing highly experienced staff… I see it as sort of a kick-start for the company’s new phase of development,” he adds.

“We are very impressed by the high photovoltaic conversion efficiency attained by our scientific partners at Empa,” comments Flisom’s interim CEO Kaelin. “We look forward to benefitting from the insights of Empa to further raise the efficiency of flexible solar modules produced using Flisom’s industrial roll-to-roll vacuum deposition technology.”

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Flisom Raises Funding to Ramp up 15mw Flexible Cigs Module Production Plant
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