LONDON – Heliatek GmbH, a 2006 startup company pioneering the development and manufacture of flexible, organic photovoltaic cells, is about to begin production of the first such products at its Dresden factory.
"We are finishing the manufacturing line; we will be in production in the next few weeks," Thibaud Le Seguillon, CEO of Heliatek, told EE Times in a phone interview.
Thibaud Le Seguillon, CEO of Heliatek.
Heliatek, a spin off from the Universities of Dresden and Ulm, has invested 14 million euro (about $18 million) in the construction of the Dresden factory which is nonetheless a pilot fab intended for use working with multiple customers and characterizing products for them. As and when a high volume requirement is identified that is likely to go to production in a second much larger fab that Heliatek has planned, also to be built in Dresden.
The second line is dependent on obtaining the funds – not easy in the current European economic climate – said Le Seguillon. But with the benefits of being a renewable energy technology and involved in manufacturing for export, the project has a better chance than many of getting funded.
Heliatek is looking to raise 60 million euro (about $75 million) and has 25 million euro (about $30 million) pledged from existing investors that include BASF, Bosch, RWE, Wellington Partners, eCapital, Hightech Grunderfonds, TGFS and GP Bullhound.
The sticking point for any investor is likely to be the fragile nature of the photovoltaic business which has seen a number of bankruptcies over the last couple of years. That must be overcome through confidence in the underlying technology and the markets in can address.