Roctool, a French company specialised in mold heating and cooling technologies for plastics and composites, strongly accelerated its partnership with the CEA to create the photovoltaic panels of the future. This partnership was set up via the EasyPOC program, supported by the Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, which helps to de-risk innovation. Roctool is a high-potential company identified by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes entreprises agency.
Since the signing of this partnership in May, the teams have not been idle and this collaboration is already bearing fruit. After a 4-month study phase involving research, the supply of bio-based materials and transformation tests, the Roctool and CEA-Liten teams at INES have been able to implement the first bio-based and 100% recyclable photovoltaic panels.
Roctool and CEA-Liten have pooled their know-how to test the implementation of panels with dimensions of 300 mm by 300 mm on a tool available at Roctool’s test center in Le Bourget-du-Lac. The results are very encouraging and promising: excellent product quality and optimized cycle times which would reduce production time by 4.
Currently, several series of panels are still being tested to verify their performance and impact resistance, and aging tests of at least 1,000 hours are also being conducted.
At this stage, the consortium, supported by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region, within the framework of the EasyPOC program, is selecting raw material suppliers and will continue its development towards proof of concept on new Roctool tooling that will represent a reduced model of a vehicle hood.
The ambition to present these first prototypes for the end of 2021 – beginning of 2022 to industrial applicators has been met and contacts have already been initiated.
Thanks to the experience of CEA-Liten and the know-how of Roctool, a new era of renewable energy is opening up, combining the use of bio-based and recyclable materials with a high-performance manufacturing technology to reduce the carbon footprint of the photovoltaic panels of the future. The CEA-Liten, a member of the Institut Carnot Energies of the future, located at the CEA Grenoble and INES (Chambery) centers, is dedicated to the energy transition. Its activities focus on several key areas: solar energy, network management, storage including batteries and hydrogen, in order to improve energy efficiency and circular economy approach.