Under the leadership of Johannes Kepler University Linz, those involved in a unique international research partnership presented product innovations at a press conference which could establish a foothold on the market or were about to be launched on the marketplace.
With 19 corporate partners and 10 scientific partners on board, "SolPol" has been focusing on the potential to link solar and plastics technologies since the year 2010. Both are industries in which Austria has traditionally boasted a high level of competence. The research initiative had high ambitions from the very beginning. It not only aimed at improving the functionality, life span and weight of solar components through plastics used in solar-technical systems such as solar thermal energy and photovoltaics, but also strove to find ways to reduce costs and make their applications globally accessible.
The results of "SolPol" speak for themselves. For example, high-temperature plastic geomembranes from the company AGRU Kunststofftechnik GmbH are not only used for high-volume solar thermal storage facilities in combination with local and district heating networks, but also for geothermal energy, mining and other applications.
The new type of high-performance plastics developed by Borealis AG is applied in vehicle technology and mechanical engineering in addition to plastic solar collector systems. Due to the SolPol research, Borealis also decided to enter the rapidly growing photovoltaics market by offering new types of encapsulation materials.
The improved plastic laminates and film composites developed by Lenzing Plastics GmbH & Co KG, also for photovoltaic and solar thermal energy applications, are also suitable for use in thermal insulation systems, as facade components and construction films.
On the basis of “SolPol” research, Sunlumo Technology GmbH ultimately succeeded in developing a one-world solar collector. It is currently working on a cost-effective, all-plastic solar thermal system to serve as a plug and function solution for the global market.