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Overall objectives of the project are:

  • Development of environmental friendly and vacuum free processes based on the electrodeposition of nanostructured precursors to achieve a more efficient exploitation of the cost saving and efficiency potential of CIGS based Photovoltaic technologies;
  • Exploration and development of alternative new processes with very high potential throughput and process rates based in the use of printing techniques with novel nanoparticle ink formulations and new cost effective deposition techniques.

These objectives involve the following key quantified achievements:

  • To develop a reliable low cost (30% lower than PVD process) and efficient (>95% of PVD process) CIGS electrodeposition based technology with improved lateral homogeneity (±5%/m2)
  • To develop a new alternative scalable process using nanoparticle based solutions compatible with high throughput requirements (established target at pilot line 1m/min)
  • To develop optimized TCO layers (transparency >80%, sheet resistance < 100 Ohm sq) by scalable non vacuum based processes

In order to fulfil these achievements, the following strategies will be implemented:

  • Development of new cell architectures based on the implementation of nanostructured TCO formed by columnar ZnO nanowire arrays
  • To develop and implement quality control and process monitoring techniques for scaled-up processes in large area substrates

SCALENANO also includes the validation and development of higher innovative processes and materials for the future generation of chalcogenide based cells and modules:

  • Novel non-vacuum processes based on cost efficient deposition techniques as ESAVD, for the development of CIGS based devices (80% of efficiency of reference PVD cells, lateral uniformity ≥ ±8%/m2)
  • Extension of the developed processes to the synthesis of CZTS(Se) layers and based devices (target device efficiency 10% with ED based processes), to address the problem that will be created in the future massive deployment of CIGS technologies by scarce materials


The Workplan is structured through 10 distinct work packages, with the following objectives:

WP1.- Electrodeposition based solar cells:

  1. Development and optimization of cost efficient electrochemical based processes and methodologies for CIGS solar modules production at industrial level. The main objectives will be to increase the efficiency of electrodeposited based cells to values higher than 95% of reference PVD modules and to demonstrate and improve the electrodeposition process on 30x60 cm2 in terms of reproducibility, uniformity, robustness and yield
  2. Extension of electrodeposition processes for Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTS(Se)) based solar cells. Identification of growth mechanisms of CZTS(Se) absorbers and definition of optimal processes conditions (synthesis of precursors, reactive annealing) for synthesis of device grade layer

WP2.- Alternative high throughput processes for absorbers

Two alternative high throughput processes for absorbers will be developed (new nanoparticle solution-based processes, ESAVD) with the following objectives:

  1. Definition of environmental friendly synthetic routes for the preparation of CIGS and CZTS nanocrystals with controlled composition and crystallographic structure;
  2. Development of ink formulations and printing procedures for the preparation of highly crystalline electronic quality CIGS and CZTS layers with very high uniformity and improved control over composition and presence of secondary phases on small (2x2 cm2) and up-scaled large (20x20 cm2) area substrates;
  3. Development and implementation of CIGS layers and compositionally graded CIGS layers deposited by ESAVD at small and large areas;
  4. Extension of ESAVD based methods for the cost-effective deposition of kesterite layers with well controlled structure, composition and stoichiometry;
  5. Fabrication and characterisation of solar cell prototypes using the classical CIGS architecture with the layers obtained by both methods: Implementation of a high throughput high rate process yielding cells with targeted conversion efficiency of 80% relative to vacuum-deposited devices with a classical CIGS cell configuration

WP3.- Synthesis of TCO by scalable non vacuum based processes

  1. Development of scalable non vacuum processes for the deposition of i-ZnO and Al-doped ZnO layers with requirements compatible with high efficiency solar cells (transparency >80%, sheet resistance<100 Ohm sq (Al-doped ZnO))
  2. Defining optimum TCO-buffer combinations for CIGS or CZTS(Se) absorbers, which can be realized by means of scalable low-cost processes

WP4.- New cell architecture for higher efficiencies

  1. Dimensioning of optical confinement and simulation on complete cells: To develop a model in order to identify the critical parameters and use reverse engineering to produce cell with electrodeposition process
  2. Design and implementation of cell architectures based on ZnO nanowire and nanorod arrays for higher efficiency devices: To design the best cell architectures with alternative technologies (printing and ESAVD) in order to define the best cell architecture with high efficiency produced with electrodeposition process
  3. Analysis of scalability of processes

WP5.- Scale up processes: from cells to modules

The aim of this WP is to transfer the knowledge developed in the previous WP’ s from a cell level to a module level. Once the optimal design for the PV modules and proper patterning processes are developed, the following step is to manufacture mini-modules and up-scale the process up to the typical size of commercial products. In order to develop commercially mature products, particular attention will be devoted to investigate appropriate means of encapsulation for this technology. In order to assess the life-time of the product, accelerated-aging tests will be performed to provide useful feed-back for optimizing the encapsulation processes. A pre-qualification according to relevant IEC standards is foreseen within the end of the project Moreover, methodologies for the characterization and the correct performance (Wp) measurements of these PV modules will be developed. The energy (Wh/Wp) performance of the best manufactured prototypes will be assessed and compared to the one of typical c-Si PV devices (today’s market benchmark)

WP6.- Quality control and process monitoring

  1. To develop and implement non-destructive methods for process monitoring at both in-situ (real time) and ex-situ levels, for in-line and out-line quality control.
  2. To identify quality indicators for on-line process monitoring

WP7.- Industrial take up

  1. Definition of the complete CIGS electrodeposited based module prototypes, of 60 x 120 cm2 structure, including the encapsulating and the anti-reflective coating for a maximization of the device performance (with inputs from the different WPs and in particular from WP5)
  2. Implementation of the methodologies and technologies developed in the project in the Pilot Line at NEXCIS
  3. Demonstration at Pilot Line level on the industriability of developed technologies
  4. Production, market and economic analysis for the design of a 500 MW industrial plant based on the results in terms of yield and throughput obtained in the pilot line
  5. Extension of the analysis for new alternative processes and indium free chalcogenide absorbers based on CZT(S,Se)

WP8.- Dissemination and exploitation

The main goal of this Work Package is to implement the dissemination strategy of the project, to implement the strategy for raising public awareness about the project throughputs, and to promote and manage exploitation of the knowledge generated in the project.

WP9.- Scientific Coordination

The scientific coordination of the project will be headed by IREC, in cooperation with the other members of the SCALENANO Consortium

WP10.- Project Management

Management of various financial and administrative activities for the overall success of the project according to the Grant Agreement.

Graphical representation of interdependencies between scientific-technological work packages:


coordinated by IREC