The Mobile Phone That Charges Itself

PVcomB will help mass-produce the raw photovoltaic materials used in Wysips® technology / Sunpartner Technologies and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin sign license agreement

solar material
A Wysips® component can be integrated into a watch and extend its battery life. Credit: Sunpartner Technologies

The French company Sunpartner Technologies has been developing innovative solar solutions for nearly 10 years. One of these is Wysips,® an invisible or transparent photovoltaic film that transforms any surface into a solar panel that can generate electricity using the sun’s light. To create Wysips® Crystal and Wysips® Reflect, Sunpartner Technologies paired with the German research centre Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) to develop a special solar material that could be integrated into the company’s technology.

The Wysips® Crystal component is an ultra-thin, transparent glass that combines photovoltaic material with an optical system adapted to display screens like those used in cell phones and connected watches. The component provides the device with a constant power reserve, ensures that certain applications work properly, and independently powers certain operations. For example, exposing a phone to the sun for three minutes will give you one minute of call time.

The goal of Wysips® Reflect is to make connected watches last as long as possible in between recharges. It extends battery life by up to 50% on products it has been applied to, depending on product energy use. The component is completely invisible and can be integrated into a digital or analog watch without affecting its design.

The Competence Centre Thin-Film- and Nanotechnology for Photovoltaics Berlin (PVcomB) at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is a trusted supplier of photovoltaic cells and was involved in developing one of the key building blocks in these two Wysips® components: a special photovoltaic material compatible with the transparency process developed by Sunpartner Technologies.

HZB relied on Sunpartner Technologies’ specifications to determine the stacking order that makes up the special photovoltaic material, the quality and thickness of the glass substrate, the formats, and the tolerance levels for cleanness and dust. The result is a turnkey solution, called a “photovoltaic stack,” that Sunpartner Technologies renders transparent or invisible to the naked eye by means of its own proprietary processes.

The French company, whose production unit is located in Rousset, is currently preparing to mass-produce its components. The company and HZB therefore signed a license agreement that allows Sunpartner Technologies to use HZB’s expertise to develop Wysips® Crystal and Wysips® Reflect.

Franck Aveline, VP Consumer Product Line at Sunpartner Technologies, said, “We are very pleased with our collaboration with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin laboratory. They sought to understand us and meet our needs by sharing their expertise and technical abilities with us in the field of thin photovoltaic film. This agreement is a new step we’re taking together towards industrializing Wysips® solutions while still maintaining control of the key technological building blocks we need to develop.”

Bernd Stannowski, senior scientist at HZB, said, “This collaboration allows us to bring our high-efficiency thin-film silicon solar cell technology developed over the past five years to industrialization. With Sunpartner we found an ideal partner to further develop and transfer to production.”