OPE Journal

OPV, SMART CITIES & SUSTAINABILITY 12 No 37 | November 2021 | OPE journal Fig. 1: Smart solar parking and charging station Communities emerging from rapid urbanisa- tion, targeting the major sustainability issues that arise, are defined as “Smart Cities”. A sustainable future of ever-growing urban areas requires all dimensions of sustainability to be considered. In that sense, all environ- mental, economic, social aspects should be prioritised based on their contribution in sustainability. Recent estimations reveal that by 2050, cities will provide residence to almost 66% of the global population, an increase of 12% over the current percent- age. This implies that the urban population will increase by 2.4 billion people, globally. The significance of not only expanding existing urban areas, but adding new space for development, is apparent. Only 2% of total available land is used by cities, yet the consumption of available natural resources reaches 75%. It is estimated that by 2050, resource consumption will augment to 90 billion tonnes, compared to 45 billion tonnes in 2020. Primary resources consid- ered are energy, fossil fuels, water, food and raw materials. The goal of a Smart City is to provide a more sustainable, efficient, live - able and smarter environment for residents, overcoming challenges that emerge from rapid urbanisation. The various components of a Smart City need to communicate, transfer digital information and analyse large sets of data to become more efficient and effective in their role. Information and communication technology as a key enabling factor for smart city transformation, utilise Internet of Things and Big Data frameworks to connect physical infrastructure with the digital world. This translates into improved public service for residents, optimised use of available resources, and minimised environmental impact. Available technological solutions have matured enough to provide necessary tools for smart city transition. Printed organic photovoltaics Smart components and infrastructure require greater use of resources for them to operate efficiently. The technical backbone of smart cities is described as Internet of Things (IoT), and provides instruments, communica- tion and intelligence enabling smart cities feasibility. Things are physical objects that include computers, mobile devices, sensors, wearables, vehicles, buildings and grids that form a network for information exchange. All aspects of information management, security, communication, data analysis, tracking, moni- toring and intelligent administration have increased needs in energy management and distribution. Energy is the means of an object to produce work. Clean energy sources may be sustainable or renewable with minimal impact on the environment. Photovoltaic technology has been available for more than half a century and has experienced great leaps in the last 30 years. The 3 rd generation of photovoltaics is realised through organic photovoltaics (OPV) that have unique char- acteristics enabling them to be integrated and operate in a variety of environments and applications. OPVs can meet the demands of niche markets and extend available energy solutions for IoT, automotive, agriculture, logistics, buildings and urban development. The major advantage of OPVs is the utilisation of printing techniques and wet processing for large scale manufacturing. Printed OPVs on flexible and transparent substrates could be customised based on colour, dimensions and form factor, offering unique solutions for specialised applications. Organic Electronic Technologies P.C (OET) is spearheading the development and com- mercialisation of fully printed OPVs on flexible substrates. The high-tech SME located in Greece utilises roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing for large area printing of functional organic electronics and OPV panels. Bringing more than 30 years of experience on thin film technology and processes, OET has developed tools and methodologies for manufactur- ing and integration of OPVs. The patented technology and unique know-how include in-line quality control of production processes in real-time, in-line pulsed laser and AI process management using prescriptive analytics. Smart solar parking and charging station The smart solar parking and EV charging station introduced in 2021, incorporates the latest generation of OPV on a transparent covering material that is able to convert solar energy and generate electricity from direct and indirect lighting. These panels are produced on flexible substrates, utilising cutting-edge printing and coating techniques resulting in a functional yet eco-friendly solu- tion for solar power harvesting. The station can support multiple sensors and wireless communications systems for smart transpor- tation, accompanied with CCTV and lighting for vehicle security and monitoring. The smart solar parking can be integrated into a smart grid to support electric vehicle charging and operation of supportive systems. Concepts for OPV, Smart Cities & Sustainability A contribution by Chrisostomos Varlamis, product manager at OE-Technologies (Thessaloniki, Greece)