Midsummer receives €32M grant to build solar cell megafactory
Järfälla-based solar energy company Midsummer has received a grant of over €32 million (approximately 375 million SEK) from the EU innovation fund. The company will use the funding to construct a 200 MW megafactory in Sweden to produce CIGS thin film solar cells.
CIGS thin-film solar cells offer a range of proven benefits to the market, including flexibility and a lightweight design, making them suitable for Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) applications. They also perform well in low-light conditions and have a low carbon footprint during production.
The company fosters innovation by integrating its CIGS solutions with other solar cell technologies to achieve higher efficiency results. Midsummer has advanced the development of tandem cells incorporating silicon-CIGS and perovskite-CIGS technologies using its DUO and UNO R&D machines.
During this funding round, the EU assigned €3.6 billion to 41 large-scale European projects to introduce innovative clean technologies. The objective is to promote a green transition at the European and global levels by providing financial assistance to mature technologies, processes or products with substantial potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is of course very gratifying to be selected for this support for our new mega factory in Sweden,” CEO of Midsummer Sven Lindström said.
Lindström explained that Midsummer aspires to become the leading producer of thin film solar cells in Europe, with many factories across the continent. He also said that financial support from the EU would help them establish its second megafactory in Europe after the opening of its 50 MW factory in Italy.
Innovative recycling breakthrough
Earlier in April, Midsummer also supported the sustainable movement by providing flexible CIGS solar cells for researchers from Chalmers University of Technology. Using mild leaching conditions, these researchers have developed a method to recycle valuable metals like silver and indium from solar cells.
The researchers placed solar cell fragments into appropriately sized digestion containers to determine the quantities of silver and indium in each cell. Then they filled the containers with a specific concentration of nitric acid solution, with variations in the geometric surface area to liquid ratio (A:L). All the procedures were conducted at room temperature, continuously stirring at 200 rpm.
The researchers found that a nitric acid concentration of two moles with a 1:3 A:L ratio yielded high recovery rates for silver and indium. Within four to six hours of leaching, approximately 90 percent of silver was retrieved. After 24 hours, the recovery rate reached 100 percent.
Meanwhile, around 20 to 25 percent of indium was also salvaged in the initial hour of leaching, which increased to 85 percent after 28 hours.
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