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Arkema Launches an EVA Grade Resin Specifically Designed for Photovoltaic Applications

Published on 2010-09-07. Author : SpecialChem

Thanks to their innovation potential, plastics are helping in the development of photovoltaic panels, in particular by protecting the components and enhancing their performance. Arkema has been present in this market since 2001 by offering polymers that fulfill two objectives: to extend the lifetime of panels (up to 30 years), and to make their manufacture quicker and cheaper. Arkema will showcase on its booth its five polymers specially developed for the photovoltaic sector.

Some 95% of solar panels currently use as active material, cells made of crystalline silicon, a costly and highly fragile material. These cells need protecting and so are encapsulated within EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate copolymer) layers. Arkema recently launched on the market an EVA grade specifically designed for photovoltaic applications. This resin offers key benefits: transparency, no bubble or contact defect during application, no yellowing over time, and perfect adhesion on to the panel's glass outer layer.

To complement its EVA offer, Arkema developed specific organic peroxide grades allowing to speed up the curing of EVA used for the encapsulation and hence increase the production of PV panels.

In order to ensure protection of the silicon cells from external attack, Arkema has developed with the company Krempel a new PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride) three-layer film (PET core layer enclosed within Kynar® PVDF outer layers). Used as protective backsheet for the panels, its main assets include easy processing, resistance to UV moisture and temperature variations, and stability of white color to help reflect light towards the silicon.

Today's fast expansion of solar panel technology is also prompting Arkema to design new PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate or acrylic glass) grades capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 100°C, to replace glass as the cover material. PMMA is easy to mould into "lenses" to help direct sunrays more efficiently onto a limited number of cells; this makes production of solar panels more cost-effective and reduces the weight of the overall device.

Last innovation: Arkema's R&D recently developed Apolhya® Solar, a nanostructured thermoplastic polymer for the encapsulation of new generation photovoltaic modules (so-called "thin layer" modules). Apolhya® Solar combines thermomechanical, adhesiveness and creep resistance with perfect transparency. Processing requires no curing, which saves time in the manufacturing process and facilitates the recycling of end-of-life panels.

About Arkema

A global chemical company, Arkema consists of three businesses: Vinyl Products, Industrial Chemicals, and Performance Products. Arkema reported sales of 4.4 billion euros in 2009. Arkema has 13,800 employees in over 40 countries and 7 research centers located in France, the United States and Japan. With internationally recognized brands, Arkema holds leadership positions in its principal markets.

Source: Arkema


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