Liten is a major European research institute and a driving force behind the development of the sustainable energy technologies of the future. The institute is spearheading the EU’s efforts to limit dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in three key areas: renewable energy, energy efficiency/storage and development of materials.
Our platforms, sophisticated tools for industry & the scientific/technical infrastructure/expertise to overcome technological hurdles
Liten's research teams work across a vast portfolio of renewable energy technologies. Cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies are developed at INES, the French National centre for solar research and R&D with Hydrogen and Biomass activities being managed from the LITEN's main site in Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes.
“Radically improving energy efficiency will reduce the need for investment in energy infrastructure, cut fuel costs, increase competitiveness, lessen exposure to fuel price volatility, increase energy affordability for low-income households and cut local and global pollutants improving consumer welfare” Source OECD Energy report, 2014
From nanosecurity, nanocharacterisation,and anti-counterfeiting technology to the development of advanced materials and point of sale: a comprehensive offering.
Transverse activities help add value to our technology portfolio. An optimised modeling and characterisation model, for example, can help reduce time to market. Browse this section to find out more....
High-yield photovoltaic cells: achieving new levels of performance while lowering manufacturing costs
The growth of photovoltaic solar energy conversion in the global energy mix has been unprecedented since the 2000s. The installed PV base increased tenfold from 2007 to 2012, and rising demand for energy will continue to drive increasing numbers of end users to solar worldwide. One of Liten’s key PV research areas is crystalline silicon, by far the leading material used in PV cells with 90% to 95% of the global market share. Our current research spans the entire value chain, from the material itself through to complete PV systems.
Our PV materials, cell, and module research focuses on overcoming two major hurdles:
The growing proportion of PV in the global energy mix is proof that we are close to reaching these objectives. And yet, research must continue to keep brining costs down across the PV value chain. The result will be more affordable PV systems (cost per watt) and cheaper utility rates (cost per kWh).
We have a number of industrial partnerships covering everything from prototyping to scaling up new manufacturing processes so that our partners—multinational corporations and equipment manufacturers that export their products internationally, for example—can stay at the leading edge of the PV industry. “Our strategy is to develop wafer, cell, and module manufacturing technologies for companies in Europe and, ultimately, around the globe. We are poised to assist equipment and materials suppliers in penetrating global markets with high-performance solutions,” said the head of Liten’s PV materials and cells R&D.
The CEA Tech nanocharacterization platform provides equipment and know-how that are unique in Europe. Liten researchers and partners can use this world-class facility at any time to test the quality and reproducibility of the new materials and processes developed.
Our research and development work has resulted in yields of 18% to 19% for traditional monocrystalline silicon cells. For more advanced cell technologies, we have achieved yields of 22% to 23% at a cost that makes solar energy competitive with energy from other sources. In the coming years we will continue to focus our efforts on securing substantial additional improvements—25% to 26%—in operating yields. Higher yields are crucial to anchoring PV in a fast-paced business environment where changes like a three-fold reduction in PV panel costs in five years are not uncommon.
Technologies that bring benefits to every link in the PV value chain
Liten has developed, patented, and transferred to industrial partners several technologies along the value chain:
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CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.