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Next Energy Technologies Inc

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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
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SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Next Energy Technologies Inc. (NEXT), a solar technology company developing transparent energy harvesting coatings for seamless integration into commercial windows, announced today that they were selected to receive a $2,500,000 award...


Liu J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Walker B.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Walker B.,Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology | Tamayo A.,University of California at Santa Barbara | And 3 more authors.
Advanced Functional Materials | Year: 2013

Substitution of the heteroatoms in the aromatic end-groups of three diketopyrrolopyrrole containing small molecules is investigated to evaluate how such substitutions affect various physical properties, charge transport, and the performance in bulk heterojunction solar cells. While the optical absorption and frontier orbital energy levels are insensitive to heteroatom substitution, the materials' solubility, thermal properties, film morphology, charge carrier mobility, and photovoltaic performance are altered significantly. Differences in material properties are found to arise from changes in intra- and intermolecular interactions in the solid state caused by heteroatom substitution, as revealed by the single crystal structures of three compounds. This study demonstrates a systematic investigation of structure-property relationships in conjugated small molecules. Copyright © 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Kim C.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Liu J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Lin J.,University of California at Santa Barbara | Tamayo A.B.,Next Energy Technologies Inc | And 3 more authors.
Chemistry of Materials | Year: 2012

Five new compounds, based on diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) and phenylene thiophene (PT) moieties, were synthesized to investigate the effect of structural variations on solid state properties, such as single-crystal structures, optical absorption, energy levels, thermal phase transitions, film morphology, and hole mobility. The molecular structures were modified by means of (i) backbone length by changing the number of thiophenes on both sides of DPP, (ii) alkyl substitution (n-hexyl or ethylhexyl) on DPP, and (iii) the presence of an n-hexyl group at the end of the molecular backbone. These DPP-based oligophenylenethiophenes were systematically characterized by UV-visible spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), cyclic voltammetry (CV), ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopy (UPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and hole-only diodes. Single-crystal structures were provided to probe insight into structure-property relationships at a molecule level resolution. This work demonstrates the significance of alkyl substitution as well as backbone length in tuning material's solid-state properties. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop new soluble small molecule (SSM) architectures for organic (plastic) photovoltaic (OPV) technology. SSMs are low-cost plastic semiconductors that can be printed as an ink or spray painted onto conventional plastic sheets to fabricate extremely inexpensive, lightweight, and flexible solar cells. Development of organic solar cells has primarily been based on small molecules deposited from vapor (an expensive and constraining process) or solution-processed polymers; semiconducting polymers by nature are inherently impure and are limited to small batch sizes with inconsistencies between batches. SSM-OPV technology removes these critical development and manufacturing barriers. The overall objective is to further improve the efficiency and lifetime of already highly efficient SSM-OPVs through an approach that is expected to lead to substantially improved isotropy in the optical and electrical properties, which in turn can lead to better charge transport and enhanced efficiency. It is also expected to improve the device lifetimes by reducing degradation over time via crystallization. Therefore this project will be addressing two of the most critical barriers to the commercialization of OPV technology. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the promise of very low-cost solar cells that are extremely lightweight and flexible, and which are domestically manufactured via low-cost roll-to-roll processing. These plastic solar cells promise to be substantially lighter and more flexible than existing technologies, with competitive efficiencies and lifetimes for the niche portable solar market. The market for niche solar applications made from lightweight flexible photovoltaics includes stand-alone portable chargers for military and retail users as well as integrated systems including integration with tents, awnings, recreational vehicles, and tensile fabric structures. This market is relatively new and is quickly growing despite the fact the market needs are poorly met by currently available technologies. Currently available photovoltaics in the portable solar market have limited flexibility thereby increasing their collapsed volume and weight. While still new, the niche flexible solar market is predicted to surpass 32 gigawatts (GW) and $58 billion by 2019. The market for OPV stand-alone portable chargers alone is predicted to reach $222 million by 2015. There is also potential that SSM-OPV technology could make inroads into the building integrated PV (BIPV) market or the even the much larger utility scale market.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop new soluble small molecule (SSM) architectures for organic (plastic) photovoltaic (OPV) technology. SSMs are low-cost plastic semiconductors that can be printed as an ink or spray painted onto conventional plastic sheets to fabricate extremely inexpensive, lightweight, and flexible solar cells. Development of organic solar cells has primarily been based on small molecules deposited from vapor (an expensive and constraining process) or solution-processed polymers; semiconducting polymers by nature are inherently impure and are limited to small batch sizes with inconsistencies between batches. SSM-OPV technology removes these critical development and manufacturing barriers. The overall objective is to further improve the efficiency and lifetime of already highly efficient SSM-OPVs through an approach that is expected to lead to substantially improved isotropy in the optical and electrical properties, which in turn can lead to better charge transport and enhanced efficiency. It is also expected to improve the device lifetimes by reducing degradation over time via crystallization. Therefore this project will be addressing two of the most critical barriers to the commercialization of OPV technology.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the promise of very low-cost solar cells that are extremely lightweight and flexible, and which are domestically manufactured via low-cost roll-to-roll processing. These plastic solar cells promise to be substantially lighter and more flexible than existing technologies, with competitive efficiencies and lifetimes for the niche portable solar market. The market for niche solar applications made from lightweight flexible photovoltaics includes stand-alone portable chargers for military and retail users as well as integrated systems including integration with tents, awnings, recreational vehicles, and tensile fabric structures. This market is relatively new and is quickly growing despite the fact the market needs are poorly met by currently available technologies. Currently available photovoltaics in the portable solar market have limited flexibility thereby increasing their collapsed volume and weight. While still new, the niche flexible solar market is predicted to surpass 32 gigawatts (GW) and $58 billion by 2019. The market for OPV stand-alone portable chargers alone is predicted to reach $222 million by 2015. There is also potential that SSM-OPV technology could make inroads into the building integrated PV (BIPV) market or the even the much larger utility scale market.


Patent
Next Energy Technologies Inc | Date: 2013-02-19

Organic molecule semi-conducting chromophores containing a halogen-substituted core structure are disclosed. Such compounds can be used in organic heterojunction devices, such as organic molecule solar cells and transistors.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE II | Award Amount: 1.56M | Year: 2014

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop new soluble small molecules (SSM) and device architectures for organic (plastic) photovoltaic (OPV) technology. SSMs are low-cost plastic semiconductors that can be printed as an ink or spray painted onto conventional plastic sheets to fabricate extremely inexpensive, lightweight, and flexible solar cells. Development of organic solar cells has primarily been based on small molecules deposited from vapor (an expensive and constraining process) or solution-processed polymers; semiconducting polymers by nature are inherently impure and are limited to small batch sizes with inconsistencies between batches. SSM-OPV technology removes these critical development and manufacturing barriers. In this project we will further increase the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of our SSM-OPV cells by developing SSM-OPV tandem cells, which will increase the theoretical PCE limit as well as directly improve the actual PCE. Unlike conventional solar where the fabrication of multi-junction solar cells is complex and cost is prohibitively high, SSM-OPV is well suited for low cost tandem cell fabrication. Therefore this project will be addressing one of the most critical barriers to the commercialization of OPV technology.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the promise of very low-cost solar cells that are extremely lightweight and flexible, and which are domestically manufactured via low-cost roll-to-roll processing. These plastic solar cells promise to be substantially lighter and more flexible than existing technologies, with competitive efficiencies and lifetimes for the niche portable solar market and PV integrated roofing. The market for niche solar applications made from lightweight flexible photovoltaics includes stand-alone portable chargers for military and retail users as well as integrated systems including integration with tents, awnings, recreational vehicles, and membrane roofing. This market is relatively new and is quickly growing despite the fact the market needs are poorly met by currently available technologies. Currently available photovoltaics in the portable solar market have limited flexibility thereby increasing their collapsed volume and weight. While still new, the niche flexible/portable solar market is predicted to surpass 420MW and reach $600 million by 2020. The market for flexible building-integrated PV (BIPV) roofing products is projected to reach $3 billion by 2018. There is also potential that SSM-OPV technology could make inroads into the much larger utility scale market in the future.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2013

Solar technologies have had little impact on energy generation due to the high price of solar electricity generated by current technology relative to the cost of electricity generated from fossil fuels. The DOE Sunshot aims at reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% and predicts that this will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology and restore U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race. Next Energy Technologies (NEXTs) soluble small molecule (SSM) organic photovoltaic (OPV) promises to lower the cost per watt of modules and also the balance of system costs below the goals of Sunshot. NEXTs SSM-OPVs can be coated as inks onto conventional plastic rolls in high yields using roll-to-roll technology allowing for the generation of lightweight, flexible, and extremely inexpensive solar cells. This project focuses on enhancing inherent device stability in order to increase product lifetime and reduce the cost of vapor barrier and packaging materials required for modules. The technical approach encompasses the development of solution processable metal oxide contact layers to eliminate the need for low work function metallic electrodes. Successful completion of the project will yield performance equivalent to conventionally processed devices and demonstrate significant improvement to device lifetime. NEXTs scale-up to commercial and utility markets will be enabled by a near-term commercialization strategy that targets high-value niche markets that exploit the lightweight and flexible characteristics of our OPV product such as portable, flexible solar for military and consumer applications. Early revenues from these niche markets will allow NEXT to efficiently scale our low-cost OPV product towards the much larger commercial and utility markets where PV sales are driven by cost. We are particularly well suited to important market segments not currently well served by current generations of PV, for example, large open-span rooftops that cant support traditional PV.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2014

The DOE Sunshot initiative aims at reducing the installed cost of solar energy systems by about 75% and predicts that this will drive widespread, large-scale adoption of this renewable energy technology and restore U.S. leadership in the global clean energy race. Conventional solar technologies are also limited in their form factor, weight, flexibility, color- tunability, and transparency, which have impeded growth in flexible PV and large building integrated PV markets. Soluble small molecule organic photovoltaic technology promises to lower the cost per watt of modules and also the balance of system costs below the goals of Sunshot. These materials can be coated as inks onto conventional plastic rolls in high yields using roll-to-roll technology allowing for the generation of lightweight, flexible, semi-transparent, color-tunable and extremely inexpensive solar cells. The goal of this project is to demonstrate that the lifetime of encapsulated organic PVs made using organic soluble small molecules are long enough to meet the needs of the markets. The Phase I projected demonstrated the commercial feasibility and stability of soluble small molecule organic solar technology. In an inert environment that simulates well-encapsulated devices, these devices showed performance that potentially meets the requirements for early-stage products (5 or more year effective lifetime), and demonstrated that 20-30 year lifetimes needed for building integrated photovoltaic are feasible. The goal of the Phase II proposal is to demonstrate that the lifetime of encapsulated organic PVs made using soluble small molecules are long enough to meet the needs of the markets. Specifically, for rigid encapsulation Phase II will demonstrate 20 - 30 year of lifetimes, which are necessary for the building integrated PV (BIPV) window market. For flexible encapsulation technology Phase II milestones include 3 - 5 year lifetimes, which will enable the technology in niche flexible portable markets - a stepping stone towards the flexible BIPV market. Commercial Applications and Benefits: The development of the technology is anticipated to achieve a price point that will compete with non-renewables and help the US transition to a clean energy future. On the shorter term, the flexibility, low-weight, color-tunability, and semitransparency of the technology will fulfill unmet needs of flexible and building integrated PV (BIPV) markets. The low costs and custom manufacturing enabled by the printable technology for the BIPV markets supports domestic manufacturing by reducing the advantage of mass manufacturing and low margins.


Patent
Next Energy Technologies Inc | Date: 2013-02-13

Small organic molecule semi-conducting chromophores containing a halogen-substituted core structure are disclosed. Such compounds can be used in organic heterojunction devices, such as organic small molecule solar cells and transistors.

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