ASCA – an ARMOR GROUP company, the organic photovoltaics (OPV) global leader – is, among other things, currently setting up a new laser production equipment for late-stage customization of its OPV offerings. The commissioning is planned for towards end of the year. With the new setup, ASCA will be able to respond to even larger-scale projects and offer new solar energy applications more rapidly than before. By investing in industrialization and IP licensing, ASCA reduces market adoption barriers and increases competitiveness to support the OPV industry in the whole of Europe.
To further automate its late-stage customization processes, ASCA is currently further developing its design software that simplifies the electrical design of modules based on customer drawings. ASCA´s new laser equipment will be integrated into the existing production line in Nantes, France. The laser machine structures the OPV films after a full-width coating is applied to produce tailor-made modules and respond quickly and in even greater quantities to local demand, with an industrial capacity of 1 million m2. This unique industrial approach is based on the ARMOR GROUP´s historical thermal transfer DNA to separate coating and final customization to improve economy of scale in roll-to-roll production while having local markets and individual needs reflected in the customization part.
To support the financing of the new device, ASCA has received funding from the French government and regional councils. The fund was granted in 2020 within the country´s recovery plan and the regional reindustrialization policies to help the French industry to implement strategic energy transition projects. “ASCA is recognized all over Europe by key institutions: Besides the Plan France Relance of the French government, we already won the German Sustainability Award and we have been acknowledged by the European Commission´s initiative Innovation Radar”, ASCA´s CEO Ralph Paetzold says.
Agreements with all OPV players
After having acquired the most relevant intellectual property portfolio on printed OPV from the leading science and technology company Merck at the end of 2021, ASCA has already signed the first licensing agreement to increase the market competitiveness of the technology recently which is now followed by a second one. “The licensing process continues with the recent signing of a second agreement with Dracula Technologies. We are very delighted about the open and fruitful discussions we had with them. This second agreement also reflects our will to make the IP portfolio available for all players to remove any barriers to the market,” Nicolas Vannieuwenhuyse, ASCA´s Vice President for Key Accounts Management, says. According to him, “further discussions are underway, and we will ensure that all the other players in the OPV industry will have the option to access the portfolio. This is essential to support the growth of the organic photovoltaic market.”
Political will is needed
“The issue of producing energy locally is at the heart of ASCA´s concerns. The challenges we are facing today require to rethink the European landscape. We – as a European solar company – are more than committed to make things move forward and to contribute to the energy transition. Solar energy will play a significant role in the new energy mix, starting today,” ASCA´s CEO Ralph Paetzold says.
Several companies using different PV technologies – including ASCA with its OPV technology – are strongly investing to rebuild photovoltaic production in Europe for diverse markets. Thanks to its customized organic solar solutions that answer the need for a local energy production, ASCA is an important piece of the puzzle to support the development of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) and to improve the energy footprint of buildings.
The ASCA® organic photovoltaic film that is produced in Europe can easily be integrated in cities to produce sustainable and local energy. Paetzold adds: “Europe is facing the need to become more energy-independent. With building-integrated photovoltaics, energy can be produced in municipal areas while the open land can remain for food production. BIPV offers game-changing solutions for more sustainable buildings, achieving lower-carbon cities and making a major contribution to climate change. To support the development of BIPV and to improve the energy footprint of buildings, it is necessary to adapt the European standards taking into account the characteristics of the latest solar innovations such as the OPV.”
Since the launch of its photovoltaics activities in 2008, the ARMOR GROUP has already invested more than 100 million euros of its own funds, e.g., for research and development, pilot tests and manufacturing equipment. ASCA´s production capacity of OPV is currently 1 million square meters per year.
ASCA designs and develops intelligent, tailor-made, flexible and low-carbon solar energy solutions on an industrial scale for its international partners. Its team of experts of sixty people is spread over France and Germany. ASCA is a company of ARMOR GROUP. The ARMOR GROUP specializes in the industrial formulation of inks and the coating of thin layers onto thin films. The Group is the global market leader in the design and manufacture of thermal transfer ribbons for printing variable traceability data on labels and flexible packaging. With an international presence, ARMOR GROUP has nearly 2,500 employees in some 20 different countries. In 2020 it posted annual revenue of €372m. www.asca.com