Government and energy utilities are embracing solar energy on a global scale because it can compete with conventional energy sources such as oil and gas not only in terms of making environmental savings, but also on grounds of cost.
As the world’s energy consumption is forecast to triple by 2050, the need to find a new generation of energy solutions has never been greater.
Huntsman Advanced Materials, a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals, covers the whole spectrum of solar energy production with its comprehensive portfolio of material solutions – from solar panels that produce electricity to thermal panels that convert the power of the sun into heat.
In this unique market, products are often required to withstand high temperatures and Huntsman is well placed to meet this challenge with its ongoing commitment to solar energy.
Optimised insulation is one of the key factors in achieving ‘smart buildings’.
Properly insulating buildings provides an effective method of reducing energy consumption, without sacrificing comfort.
In warm climates the use of reflective coatings minimising infra red absorption, urethane sandwich panels, insulation boards and blocks is likely to rise.
These are all areas where Huntsman is very active.
Other areas of growth in which Huntsman and its partners operate include solar heating, solar reflective and solar power.
Each of these three distinct technologies will see a rapid increase in usage due to requirements to lower the energy needs of building.
Solar thermal panel design has become more refined and efficient to the extent that solar heating panels can now be an integral and virtually indistinguishable part of the roof design on a building.
Adhesives, fixings and sealants specifically designed for these panels will see increased usage.
Alongside solar heating and solar reflective technology there will be a massive growth in solar power arrays to produce electricity from sunlight.
Traditionally, silicon wafer technology has been used and in the future whole areas of roofing may have photovoltaic cells installed to produce a significant proportion of the energy for the building.
Huntsman has worked in co-operation with industry partners to introduce a complete package of new materials and processing technologies that will enable actively temperature controlled PV modules with increased efficiency.
The complete package includes:
– The liquid system Araldite® AY 4583 / HY 4583, which enables an energy saving encapsulation process at low temperatures and eliminates the critical lamination process with EVA
– Heat conductive, electrical insulating adhesives, enabling a new module design and construction with improved heat transfer and efficiency, together with excellent strength and bonding properties
– Flexible and Thermal conductive adhesive to protect the flexibility of solar cells
– Highly reflective, white solder mask Probimer® 77 White, which contributes to the increase of the efficiency of the PV module through higher and multiple reflection, increasing the ratio of sunlight reaching the cells
By using these new technologies there is potential to increase the efficiency of innovative PV modules by more than 50%. In addition to this, processing is significantly simplified, costs are reduced and aging stability is improved.
This new package of materials will change the future of innovative PV modules because it is the only one in the market that can offer such an outstanding performance.
With its excellent bonding and heat resistance features, it offers the ability to improve energy harvesting, reduce maintenance costs and significantly prolong the lifespan of the PV module.
It would allow the installation of PV plants in adverse southern climates and deserts and could be combined with solar fuel generators where electrical energy is used to convert CO₂ and H₂0into natural gas.
Another example of Huntsman’s work in the solar energy market is Araldite® 2015, which has TUV design and type approval for PV modules. All too often the heat transfer properties which are necessary for solar output efficiency are achieved at the sacrifice of bonding features. However, what makes Araldite® 2015 different is that it allows a module design and construction with improved heat transfer and efficiency together with excellent strength and bonding properties.
Araldite® 2015 properties of high shear and peel strength, combined with its resistance to water, chemicals and UV are not affected when used for improved energy efficient solar panels in buildings.
Tests prove that bonding of the aluminium extruded profiles bonded onto the surface treated polyvinyl fluoride back sheet of the solar module can withstand thermal cycling temperature cycles from -40°C up to 85°C without diminishing the strength of the bond.
This makes Araldite® 2015 ideally suited to dissimilar materials.
Commenting, Thierry Perchet, European marketing director, Huntsman said: “The way mankind generates, stores and consumes energy is the key to protecting the biosphere, remediation of ecological damage and enhancing the health and well being of future generations.
Huntsman Advanced Materials is a global leader and pioneer in applications that benefits its customers, consumers and the planet as a whole.”