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Arkema polymers boost photovoltaic panel efficiency


The lifetime of a solar panel spans 20 to 30 years. Therefore the panel’s components have to deliver long-lasting top performance. A challenge taken up successfully by Arkema thanks to two of its polymers - Kynar® PVDF and Evatane® EVA -, and specific organic peroxide grades - Luperox® Solar. Arkema also recently developed Apolhya® Solar, a nanostructured thermoplastic for new-generation « thin layer » panels. Arkema will be showcasing these products for solar panel manufacturers at the 26th « Photovoltaic Solar Energy » tradeshow held in Hamburg from September 5th to 9th (Hall B1G / Stand A 18).

Polymers have become key components in many solar panel parts. They are used to encapsulate the silicon cells and protect the electrical elements at the back of the panel. Arkema’s polymers offer these properties over the long term.

Evatane®, an ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), is used for cell encapsulation thanks to its transparency, no yellowing over time, and perfect adhesion on to glass. To complement its EVA offering, Arkema has also developed specific organic peroxide grades, Luperox® Solar, that help reduce EVA curing time and therefore speed up solar panel production output.

Kynar® polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) is the key element in the design of the panel’s backsheet. Arkema has teamed up with German company Krempel to develop a three-layer coating comprising two Kynar® films over a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) core layer. Kynar®’s excellent temperature, moisture and UV resistance, together with its white color stability helping reflect light toward the silicon, make it a key factor in the panel’s long service life.

Finally, Arkema’s R&D teams recently developed Apolhya® Solar, a thermoplastic polymer for the encapsulation of thin layer photovoltaic module components. Apolhya® Solar combines thermomechanical, adhesiveness and creep resistance properties with perfect transparency. Processing requires no curing, which saves time in the panel’s manufacturing process and will eventually facilitate recycling of end-of-life panels.

A global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, 14,000 employees and 8 research centers, Arkema generated annual revenue of €5.9 billion in 2010, and holds leadership positions in all its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands. The world is our inspiration.


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