German President Christian Wulff presented the 2011 Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German Prize for Innovation and Technology) to Prof. Karl Leo (TU Dresden/co-founder of Heliatek), Dr. Martin Pfeiffer (CTO and co-founder of Heliatek), and Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth (Novaled AG) for their outstanding innovation, “Organic electronics – More light and energy from wafer thin molecule layers” on December 14. The President’s Award for Technology and Innovation honors innovative and economically promising research developments.
The 2011 Deutscher Zukunftspreis, the President’s Award for Technology and Innovation, is the most important innovation award in Germany and has established itself over the last 15 years as a unique event for the scientific and business community. The award-winning innovation must not only meet lofty technical standards but also high business-oriented requirements. The developments should make a significant contribution to the economy, with the products having an impact on everyday life. Prof. Günter Stock, Chairman of the jury from science and industry, explained the criteria for the award at the presentation ceremony on December 14 at Berlin’s eWerk: “Excellence in research is the foundation; demonstrated expertise of the researchers and the already apparent economic application; a high level of social relevance on one hand as well as personal involvement on the other.”
President Christian Wulff had this to say after handing over the Deutscher Zukunftspreis to the organic electronics research team. “I am especially pleased that this team has won the prize because it reassures us all that energy transition will work.” The scientific team managed to develop organic semiconductors for use in commercial applications in just a few years. The main advantage of organic semiconductors is how they make it relatively easy, inexpensive, and, most importantly, ecological to manufacture electronic products with unusual properties – as thin, flexible, and transparent films of almost any size. Organic electronics can be used for OPV (organic photovoltaics) in the form of flexible and lightweight solar panels.
“This recognition of our core technology as Germany’s best innovation in 2011 is a great honor for all of us. This honor illustrates the significant impact that organic electronics technology will have on the economy and our future lifestyle. Dr. Pfeiffer and his colleagues have succeeded in pushing this technology far beyond basic research, as Heliatek is on the verge of market entry. It is likely that a number of further innovations will be realized in the coming years, with new applications becoming part of our everyday lives,” commented Mr. Thibaud Le Séguillon, Heliatek CEO.
Award winner Dr. Pfeiffer concludes: “Being part of the development and advancement of organic photovoltaics for over 15 years has been a fascinating process – from the first attempts with test cells on tiny surfaces with less than one percent efficiency to now being able to start with commercial production. The founding of Heliatek in 2006 greatly accelerated this development. The decisive factor was our success in setting the standard for merging expertise in semiconductor physics together with organic chemistry at Heliatek, yet maintaining our focus on a common development goal. I would like to thank all the staff and colleagues at the Technical University of Dresden, the University of Ulm, and Heliatek who have traveled this long road with us for their tireless efforts.”
Starting in mid-2012, the first organic, flexible solar modules will be produced in Dresden using a low temperature roll-to-roll process. In order to further expand its production capacity, Heliatek has scheduled another investment round in 2012, during which it plans to raise around €50 million from existing and new investors.
Heliatek, a global leader in high-end solar technology, was spun-off in 2006 from the Technical University of Dresden (IAPP) and the University of Ulm. The company’s founding brought together internationally renowned expertise in the fields of organic optoelectronics and organic oligomer synthesis. As the global technology leader in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV) based on small molecules, Heliatek is currently making the transition from technology development to industrial manufacture. Heliatek’s goal in 2012 is to mass produce organic photovoltaic panels using the world’s first roll-to-roll, low temperature process for the deposition of small molecules. Heliatek maintains a total staff of some 70 employees and specialists at its facilities in Dresden and Ulm. Investors in Heliatek include leading industrial and financial companies such as BASF, Bosch, RWE, and Wellington Partners. Research and development work, as well as the installation of production technology, has been funded by the Free State of Saxony, the BMBF (Federal Ministry for Education & Research), the BMWi (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), and the European Union. Discover more at www.heliatek.com