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ESTABLIS Achievements

ESTABLIS PROJECT ended in December 2015. An overview of the project achievements is presented below.

ESTABLIS (Ensuring stability in organic solar cells) project (FP7-PEOPLE-ITN-ESTABLIS-29022) had two main objectives. First, was to train 15 individual researchers to become high-level professional scientists and leaders in their fields, with both the scientific and the entrepreneurial skills that Europe requires of them to help ensure a bright future for fast growing OPV and related industries. Second, ESTABLIS targeted 10 year stabilities for low cost OPVs using industry relevant techniques. At the mid-term review, the EEC Project Officer stated that ESTABLIS was, “outstanding – way out in front of all the other projects I work with”.

While efficiencies in the laboratory are now reaching more than 10%, this is using solvents and technology that cannot be used in industrial production line, for example for reasons of safety around certain chlorinated solvents. For this technology to succeed in providing adaptable, colourful devices that empower users in accordance with COP20 and COP21 agreements, we need to see prioritisation of industry-relevant techniques and improvements in device stabilities, leading to greater productivities.

Making organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs) with lifetimes appropriate for large-scale commercial applications means applying, synchronously, a wide range of sciences. At the core of the ESTABLIS which ran from 2011-2015, was cross-science fertilisation and ensuring fast communication between scientists working in organic synthesis, polymer chemistry and physics, optoelectronics, device manufacturing, formulation, analytical sciences and computer modelling. These actions are important for OPV research as the devices are effective when all the chemical, electronic and physical parameters work together in a complementary manner. Extensive synthetic work, frontier-pushing characterisations, and beyond state-of-the-art computer-based modelling, are essential to understanding, and improving, OPV lifetimes.

ESTABLIS was built through the strong support of thirty-five industrial and academic staff from across seven countries and in 6 world leading companies and 7 key academic groups, and 15 extremely committed and dedicated Fellows who worked extremely hard to reach these common objectives. ESTABLIS delivered on its key objectives and more. It's Fellows are successfully going forward with their careers, strengthened by the work that was done in the consortium, trained in a wide variety of skills, and comfortable in the knowledge that while they have been through a tough training program, it is one that has built their international perceptions and capacity for scientific rigour immeasurably. Extraordinarily, many of our PhD Fellows were awarded cotutelle PhDs, that is doctorates from two universities, and this is important for strengthening their careers as it is for ensuring that there are people who understand the importance of working across scientific and cultural barriers, always providing links between European countries. The science has been performed such that the initial deliverable of low-cost OPV devices using industry accepted solvents and large scale cells with ten years lifetimes has been surpassed. IEC certification has been achieved by the world's leading producer of OPVs, Belectric OPV GmbH, a key member of the ESTABLIS consortium. Belectric OPV GmbH and Heraeus have entered into closer operations following ESTABLIS, and the world leader in providing semi-conducting polymers, Merck, is working with Belectric OPV to continue to expand their product range. ESTABLIS was an extremely productive consortium. It resulted in 5 patents, 23 papers published, 7 papers submitted and at least another 10 papers to be submitted in the next 6 months.

The ESTABLIS consortium made many essential discoveries, including: novel low band gap polymers; polymers incorporating fullerene into the main-chain; new techniques to stabilise active layer morphologies key to providing long-term stable devices; understanding the effects of photo-oxidation on new low-band gap polymers; in-situ tests for inter-layer adhesions; understanding the way in which moisture can degrade devices; and a complete, multi-scale correlation between real and artificial ageing processes for OPVs; and so on to name but a few of ESTABLIS' contribution to this field. The list is quite astounding.

ESTABLIS was efficiently organised using a number of innovations: a Director of Training oversaw the use of Personal Career Development Plans; PhD cotutelles were established for the majority of Fellows, enhancing their employment prospects and international experience; regular large and small meetings between all the members were held so that partners could discuss subjects in an effective and timely manner; invited speakers, and regular talks ensured that cross-science subjects were not a barrier to understanding but a bridge to developing new solutions for creative OPV science; regular workshops also doubled-up as forums for sharing experiences, and resolving challenges; and the Project Manager encouraged and coordinated outreach activities. The ESOS conference in Cargèse, run by ESTABLIS in collaboration with the COST actions and the CNRS was widely acknowledged to be a glowing success, combing top-flight international science and discussions with an excellent ambience conducive to developing new collaborations.

ESTABLIS will have a long lasting impact through the way in which its Fellows have benefited from this program, and through its science which has contributed to the rapid development of OPV technology. More than 1200 students have benefitted from ESTABLIS Outreach actions, learning how solar cells work. Through ESTABLIS’s innovations, we expect in the coming year to see the construction of the world’s first cluster of community scale OPV sites in the Communauté de Communes de Vic-Montaner with an eye expanding production of this exceptional technology which we believe will play an important role in our energy sourcing.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the Staff and Fellows for having participated in Establis. It was great fun, an incredible amount of hard work, but a lot came out of this project, and I think that those who were involved can all look back on it with great pride. At the risk of missing names, I’d like to warmly thank the Vice-Coordinator, Dr. Paul Topham, the Director of Training, Dr. Andrew Sutherland, and the European Project Manager, Dr. Mélanie Pédeutour, without whose excellent skills ESTABLIS simply would not have succeeded. Especial thanks also go to the Advisors to the Coordinator,  Dr. Hans-Joachim Egelhaaf and Dr. Andreas Distler (also work package leader), the work package leaders, Dr. Christine Dagron-Lartigau, Prof. Larry Lüer, and Dr. Agnès Rivaton, Partner Leaders, Prof. Siegfried Bauer, Dr. Nicolas Blouin, Prof. Thomas Chassé, Mr. Peter Ettridge, Prof. Gytis Juska, Dr. Wilfried Loevenich, Dr. Graham Morse, Dr. Sandro Francesco Tedde, Dr. Steve Tierney, Prof. Frantisek Uherek, and Dr. Odo Wunnicke, the supervisors, Prof. Ahmed Allal, Prof. Kestutis Arlauskas, Dr. Simona Bauer-Gogonea, Prof. Didier Bégué, Dr. Pierre-Olivier Bussière, Dr. Juan Cabanillas Gonzalez, Dr. Andreas Elschner, Dr. Daniel Hasko, Prof. Luc Gardette, Dr. Kristijonas Genevicius, Dr. Johannes Gierschner, Dr. Heiko Peisert, Dr. Alexander Satka, Dr. Reinhard Schwoediauer, Dr. Stefan Schumann, Dr. Sandrine Thèrias, Dr. Reinhold Wannemacher, Dr. Andrej Vincze, and the Fellows, Dr. Craig M. Combe, Dr. Dargie Deribew, Dr. Simon Dowland, Dr. Isabel Fraga Dominguez, Dr. Alberto Gregori, Dr. Anna Isakova, Dr. Safakath Karuthedath, Dr. Joanna Kolomanska, Dr. Olena Kozlova, Dr. Hasina H. Ramanitra, Dr. Mamadou Seck, Dr. Hugo Santos Silva, Dr. Meera Stephen, Dr. Ievgeniia Topolniak, Dr. Aurélien Tournebize, European Funding Managers and Legal Advisors, Mrs. Kheira Hamidi, Mr. Paul Knobbs, Mrs Virginie Latour, and Mr. Rémi Vignes, and administrative staff Mrs. Christa Mitschan, who have all made this a wonderful project.

 

Dr. Roger Hiorns, Coordinator, ESTABLIS 2012-2015.

Please see www.project-establis.eu and www.facebook.com/establis for more information.

Abstracts of ESTABLIS PhD thesis can be found here.