University of Texas at Austin Scientists Partner with Konarka

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The company recently achieved the world record in plastic solar cell efficiency, at 8.3 percent, with its Power Plastic.

Lowell, Mass.[]

Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of Konarka Power Plastic®, a material that converts light to energy, today announced a partnership between researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Konarka, which could lead to improved plastic solar cell technologies. The partnership matches faculty that are supported by energy-related grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) and National Science Foundation (NSF) with one of the world’s leading manufacturers of plastic solar cells.

“This partnership unites cutting edge science with state-of-the-art technology in solar energy conversion,” said Xiaoyang Zhu, professor of chemistry and director of The University of Texas at Austin’s DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) for Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials.

“On top of good fundamental science, this is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn from and interact with an industry leader,” said chemistry professor Christopher Bielawski, who leads the NSF-sponsored Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI), which aims to answer fundamental questions in plastic electronic materials.

The researchers say collaboration will allow them to better align their scientific goals with critical needs in the plastic solar cell industry and to develop ideal model systems for achieving the goals of the both the EFRC and CCI programs. Konarka looks to gain insights into the physical potential of plastic solar cell efficiencies and an understanding of critical processes in specific solar cell systems. The company recently achieved the world record in plastic solar cell efficiency, at 8.3 percent, with its Power Plastic.

Organic solar cells encased in plastic are advantageous for energy applications because they are produced by a large-scale printing process and are lightweight and flexible. Konarka’s Power Plastic solar panels offer large and small scale energy independence through applications such as curtain walls, components within windows and other BIVP and BAPV categories, including remote structures such as café umbrellas, transit shelters and tents. Additional applications provide greater portability and freedom, such the integration into backpacks, messenger bags and chargers for small electronic devices.

About Konarka Technologies, Inc.
Konarka Technologies develops and manufactures solar plastic films that convert light to energy – anywhere. As the leading developer of polymer-based, organic photovoltaic (OPV) technology that provides a source of renewable power in a variety of form factors, Konarka has a broad portfolio of patents, technology licenses and an accomplished technical, scientific and manufacturing team. Manufactured at low cost and low energy consumption, the company’s Konarka Power Plastic® technology is lightweight, flexible, scalable and adaptable for use in a variety of commercial, industrial, government and consumer applications. Konarka Technologies is headquartered in Lowell, Mass., U.S.A. and has a full scale production manufacturing facility in New Bedford, Mass. U.S.A., with European headquarters in Nurnberg, Germany, business development offices in Asia and a research and development facility in Austria. For additional information, visit

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