Over the recent years, as the solar industry shifted from undersupply to oversupply, dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) have been receiving increasing interest. A number of manufacturers have begun investing in this sector. EnergyTrend, a research division of TrendForce, interviewed Jason Wong, Vice President of Jintex Corporation and asked him to shed light on the future of DSSC industry.
Over the 30 years since its establishment, Jintex Corporation has been dedicated to supplying high-quality industrial chemicals for various industries, including textiles, dyeing, leather processing, paper making, electronics and many others. Due to a special opportunity, the company discovered that its core technologies can go a long way in the DSSC sector and became determined to enter the DSSC industry. In 2008, the company cooperated with the leading maker Dyesol for technology migration and began developing DSSC modules and intermediates. Today, Jintex owns its technological edge and becomes the TiO2 and electrolyte supplier of the top DSSC makers in the world.
Biomimetic Technology with Simple Manufacturing Process and Short Payback Period
Wong indicated that DSSC absorbs light through biomimetic technology and has several advantages including small size, short payback period, simple manufacturing process, capable of using indoor lighting to generate power and transparency, which Si-based solar cells do not have. DSSC’s conversion generation efficiency is lower but so is its manufacturing cost. In the future, the goal is for DSSC to become widely adopted in 3C products as the electricity storage unit, together with the lithium battery. DSSC is able to be the secondary power of consumer electric products such as cell phone and remote control which require smaller amount of power.
The company’s Vice President, Tim Lai, pointed out that Jintex enters the mid and downstream of DSSC industry and hopes to find the most advantageous stance to secure its leading position. DSSC’s key materials including dye, titania slurry and electrolyte. Jintex supplies its own titania slurry and electrolyte, which helps it easier to control cost and quality. Notably, Jintex has successfully developed many patent technologies. For example, Jintex developed the patented green dye, which is certified by Dr. Grätzel of having the highest conversion efficiency (12.3%). Such a breakthrough effectively narrows the gap between DSSC and Si-based solar cell in terms of conversion efficiency. Lai stressed that the company possesses a lot of patents and know-how, which can maintain its products’ competitiveness in the market.
Glass and Soft Substrate DSSC Module Technology
As for the midstream battery and module, Lai stated that Jintex’s glass and soft substrate technology for DSSC packaging and its ability in designing cell structure and applying material and dye will be their competitive advantage in providing turnkey solutions for the new companies and the equipment manufacturers in the future. As for the downstream applications, Jintex will actively seek collaboration with product developers and create new innovative applications. So far, the company has developed sample products such as outdoor charging pack, bicycle charging module and an innovation for solar-powered LEGO toys.
The company sees a technology breakthrough in 2012, which will considerably reduce the total cost, and predicts the booming growth to occur in 2-3 years. Currently its module is still in small-amount trial production, and the time for it to enter mass production depends on the market demand. The company will strategically invest its resource for mass production when the timing is right.
Jintex is one of the few companies that are able to mass produce DSSC products and also have the technologies for dye, key intermediates and module. China has listed DSSC as one of the key focuses in the 12th Five-Year Plan. Therefore, the company hopes the government to take more aggressive actions about integrating the resources in the industrial and academic circles, establishing a comprehensive supply chain and stimulating the development of related industries.