Photovoltaic modules are required to last 25- 30 years in harsh outdoor environment. The packaging of PV modules plays an essential role in reaching this target. PV cells are protected by a glass frontsheet, and highly engineered polymeric encapsulants and backsheets. Encapsulants provide moisture, oxygen &UV barrier, electrical isolation and mechanical protection of highly fragile cells while they must ensure optical coupling between the various layers. Current industrial process technology for module manufacturing is lamination that adds additional constraints to the formulation of encapsulants. These numerous requirements lead to ever-involving complex encapsulant composition and behavior.
The aim of this post-doc is to establish the correlation between the material properties of engineered plastics– their processing conditions and thermo-mechanical behavior in high performance PV modules with heterojunction, back-contact or Si/Perovksite tandem cells. Material selection and lamination process development will be guided by detailed material characterization (DSC, DMA, Peel strength, TGA, WVTR, Soxhlet extraction etc.). Moreover, we aim to establish insights in the encapsulant processing conditions and its impact on mechanical stability of PV modules. The selection of the encapsulants to investigate will be strongly guided by eco-design to lower the environmental impact and to increase the recyclability of modules. This postdoc is conducted in the frame of an EU collaboration.