Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, based in Freising, Germany, will present new developments in the field of barrier films at ICE Europe, March 19-21 in Munich. The group’s focus this year will be on ultra-barrier films for technical applications.
Under the motto, “Energy generation and energy saving – via cost-efficient technologies,” Fraunhofer IVV will present applications for barrier films for building insulation and power energy generation. On March 20, a new concept for pharmaceutical-packaging systems will also be presented in a talk at the ICE Europe conference.
Film for encapsulating transparent, vacuum insulation panels
Transparent vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) based on aerogels will be presented. These VIPs are being developed in an ongoing EU-funded project and will have future applications as insulating panels for glass facades and windows. They consist of low-density insulating panels vacuum-packed in an extremely gas-tight plastic barrier film. Maintenance of the vacuum is determined by the air and water vapor transmission of the surrounding film.
For this, a film material is being developed that retains its water vapor and oxygen barrier for at least 30 years. To achieve this, vacuum-deposited inorganic barrier films are protected by organic intermediate layers. These are applied by either lacquering or lamination. Depending on the final application of the panels, the inorganic layers are either aluminum or, for translucent films, various oxide layers. To maintain the vacuum, films with a water vapor transmission of less than 1×10-3gm-2d-1 and an oxygen transmission of less than 1×10-3cm3m-2d-1bar-1 are required. The project runs until 2014 and both opaque and transparent VIPs are being developed. Due to their high insulating effect, the panels provide an attractive alternative to conventional insulation materials. This work will also be presented in a talk at the ICE conference on March 20 March.
Organic photovoltaic systems – latest tech for producing solar power
Flexible plastic solar cells are being developed by the Fraunhofer IVV in another collaborative European project that has been running since 2011. Advantages over conventional solar cells are their lower weight and considerably lower cost due to the fact that they are manufactured in a continuous roll-to-roll process. There are a variety of ways of incorporating these into buildings. For example, they can be fitted as a film on panes of glass, corrugated roofing, and awnings to capture solar energy. The energy-generating industry has a huge interest in this technology for low-cost and robust solar panel fields.
To protect the individual layers in the organic solar cells from oxygen and water vapor, the cells must be encapsulated in barrier films. These barrier films consist of a plastic substrate film that is coated with several alternating layers of inorganic materials and hybrid polymers.
To achieve the target service life of 20 years, the water vapor transmission of the films must be less than 5×10-4gm-2d-1 and the oxygen transmission less than 1×10-3cm3m-2d-1bar-1. In addition, the films must be stabilized against environmental effects such as UV light, high and low temperatures, and rain, and also against mechanical stresses. The Fraunhofer IVV is using its unique laminating plant to produce these high-barrier laminates.