Solar films manufactured by German company Heliatek have been installed on ENGIE Laborelec’s building in Linkebeek, Belgium. The HeliaFilm® organic films have been incorporated into the façade and windows and will enable the testing of new solar technology systems.
The energy sector is in rapid transition, meaning that in the future energy will no longer be generated and consumed in the way that it is today. Against this backdrop, in 2016 the ENGIE Group acquired a 6.6% stake in Heliatek, one of the world leaders in the production of organic photovoltaic (OPV) films. Together with Heliatek, ENGIE decided to retrofit the façades of the Group’s research centre, ENGIE Laborelec, in Linkebeek, for a new project involving the installation of their HeliaFilms®.
Heliatek developed the façade elements with its partners AGC and SVK. The aim of this project is to investigate the ways in which solar energy can be generated from a building facade. The installation will also allow the building integration of this technology to be tested in real operational conditions.
The Heliatek solar films have been installed in two locations: directly on the SVK fibre cement façade elements on the south side of the ENGIE Laborelec building, and integrated into the AGC windows at the entrance to the building. An installation such as this shows how electricity generation can be combined with enhancement of the aesthetics and appearance of existing façades. The HeliaFilms® on the façade and windows covers a total surface area of 50 m2 and the estimated annual power generation of 2,300 kWh is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by a small household.
New ENGIE-Heliatek projects are in the planning phase. Following the ENGIE Laborelec project, the two companies plan to install HeliaFilms® on ENGIE Fabricom’s buildings in Antwerp by October.
Heliatek CEO, Thibaud Le Séguillon, said: “The completion of the façade demonstrates the ease with which HeliaFilm® can be installed as a retrofit. Heliatek’s mission is to enable our customers to generate decentralized energy using our HeliaFilms® and at the same time encourage the use of new technologies on existing infrastructures, such as the buildings themselves.”
Philippe Buxant, Research and Technologies Department ENGIE, added: “ENGIE aspires to lead the energy transition in Europe. We are convinced that solar energy will play an important role. In Heliatek we have found a partner that can offer interesting and innovative solar solutions with which we can benefit our customers. We want to meet the growing demand of customers for buildings with zero CO2 emissions and the lowest possible energy bills. The cost of these new photovoltaic films is falling all the time and we believe that they can be profitable without any subsidies.”
ENGIE develops its businesses (power, natural gas and energy services) around a model based on responsible growth to take on the major challenges of energy’s transition to a low-carbon economy: access to sustainable energy, climate-change mitigation and adaptation and the rational use of resources. The Group provides individuals, cities and businesses with highly efficient and innovative solutions largely based on its expertise in four key sectors: renewable energy, energy efficiency, liquefied natural gas and digital technology. ENGIE employs 153,090 people worldwide and achieved revenues of €66.6 billion in 2016.
About ENGIE Laborelec
ENGIE Laborelec is the research centre of the ENGIE Group and has extensive infrastructure at its Belgian headquarters for testing new solar technology systems. The platform is also connected to the Smart Home Energy Lab, the Storage Lab and an on-site microgrid, allowing investigation of a broad range of applications.
About AGC Glass Europe
Based in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), AGC Glass Europe produces, processes and distributes flat glass for the construction industry (external glazing and indoor decorative glass), car manufacture and solar power applications. It is the European branch of AGC Glass, the world’s largest producer of flat glass. It has over 100 sites throughout Europe, from Spain to Russia, and employs around 14,500 people.
SVK has been active on the international construction market since 1905 with its range of fibre cement façade panels, facing bricks, roof slates, corrugated sheets and architectonic concrete. By continually responding to the needs of the market, the company has grown to become a flexible long-term partner for construction professionals that specialise in residential as well as non-residential construction.
Heliatek is a leader in the field of Organic Electronics Energy, holding the world record efficiency of 13.2%. Through both its leading edge material development and its proven capability for volume manufacturing, Heliatek is the first company to begin commercialization of large area OPV solar film. Its business model is to supply the custom-designed HeliaFilm® to partners in industries, such as building and construction materials, automotive and light architectural structures. Heliatek maintains a total staff of some 105 specialists at its facilities in Dresden and Ulm, Germany.
Investors in Heliatek include leading industrial and financial companies such as BASF, HTGF, Innogy Venture Capital, Wellington Partners, eCAPITAL and AQTON SE. New investors include innogy SE, ENGIE, BNP Paribas and CEE Group. Heliatek is funded under the EIB “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” program. Research and development work, as well as the installation of production technology, have been funded by the Free State of Saxony, the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union as well as under the “KETs Pilot Lines project”technology and innovation funding scheme offered by the State of Saxony and financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).