Interview with Dr. Phoebe Tan, CEO of Raynergy Tek in Taiwan, about the recently published cooperation with Armor Solar Power Films

by Dirk Buchhauser

Dr. Phoebe Tan is currently the CEO of Raynergy Tek Incorporation, oversees the cooperate operation and key in strategic partnership and business development activities. Several achievements to note, including successfully raised fundof more than NTD 100millions since 2017 for business expansion ; Strategically consolidating the OPV/OPD materials related intellectual by acquiring 293 materials and formulation patents from Merck KGaA Darmstadt Germany; Led the technical team clinched governmental research funding of NTD 50 million ;The unprecedented breakthrough in new OPV materials development to be qualified as the world renowned “Best Research Cell “in US NREL’s PV chart and initiated Raynergy’s the business unit of innovation of next generation organic sensor materials in 2018 and several key materials specialized for visible light to NIR materials has been developed successfully within 12months. Prior to joining Raynergy Tek, Dr. Tan had extensive experiences in the field of Organic electronics focusing on Organic semiconductor for flexible display and sensors application. She was previously employed at Polyera Corporation, where her responsibilities covered the product development focusing on solution processed organic TFT materials platform, key coordinator in bridging the gap from lab to fab. Dr. Tan received her Ph.D. In Materials Science and Engineering from Nanyang Technological University in 2009, she has published more than 20 international journal papers and invited speakers for several international conferences focusing on flexible electronics.
Visit the Raynergy Tek website
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OrganicPV.info: Phoebe, you are the first materials company we are doing an interview with. Accordingly, can you please give us a bit of an insight into Raynergy Tek? What is the company history and structure, how many employees and what is your main business?
Phoebe: We appreciate and highly honored to be your very first interviewed materials company. Raynergy Tek was established in 2014 in Hsinchu, Taiwan, and currently employs 23 highly skilled personnel with capital investment of USD 10.15 million to date. Our main investors include Taiwan Public companies such as Sunplus, Pixart Imaging, and Fortune Electric. Our core competencies are organic synthesis and proprietary organic molecule design. To further elaborate, we focus solely on self-developed proprietary materials products, in specific organic semiconductor materials applied in solution processable Organic photovoltaics (OPV) and Organic Photodetector (OPD). In May 2020, we acquired the OPV and OPD materials intellectual properties from Merck KGaA Darmstadt Germany, thus consolidating the organic semiconductor IP portfolio. To-date, we hold 373 materials and formulation patents. Our polymer semiconductor production capability is 30kg per year and currently our established materials are produced in 200g/batch with stringent quality control to ensure reproducibility of batch to batch production.

OrganicPV.info: In the Press Release with Armor, you talk about “novel materials” for OPV. Can you please elaborate a bit about what is novel in this sense?
Phoebe: The novel materials refer to a new set of materials which target to solve some of the existing issues in the past standard materials system. Namely, improved PCE and the photo + thermal stability as well as maintaining the printing processability such as without using hazardous components include solvents and additives as well as ink stability at room temperature, etc. Internally, using the above mentioned newly developed novel materials system, we could now achieve PCE >14% in inverted OPV device configuration using all solution-processable photoactive, electron and hole transport layers.

OrganicPV.info: You also refer to the need of understanding the challenges of the manufacturer: What are those and why is it important for a materials company?
Phoebe: Photovoltaic industry is always pursing higher photovoltaics performances and reliability to ensure achieving better cost performance ratio for commercialization. In our perspective, OPV technology has now proven to have improved efficiency, however, the issue on how to reduce the gap from Lab to Fab remains one of the prominent challenges that manufacturer is facing. For instance, there are now aplenty of academia high performance materials system with very promising photovoltaics electrical performance, however, such results are often demonstrated using specific device structures or solvents which are not commonly adopted by the manufacturer. Hence, it is our top priority to first align the requirements, so that when we introduce high performance materials system, we make sure that the manufacturer does not need to worry about the above necessary key processing requirements. In Raynergy, our materials’ development is really to first understand the relevant printing processing boundary conditions used by our business partners, in particular (1) ink printing temperature, (2) ink viscosity, (3) acceptable solvents, and (4)Queue-time of ink during processing. With better understanding of these boundary conditions, we are able to take those considerations in our design rule for a novel materials system innovation, which will then cut short the trial and error or validation time during new materials introductory to our business partner. Through business partner’s prompt feedback on their module printing evaluation test, we could quickly fine-tune the materials design or reformulation. This becomes a win-win condition as both sides reduce unnecessary re-design and re-validation time spent, which greatly expediting the whole OPV technology development schedule.

OrganicPV.info: So, given your understanding in the materials: What is the maximum efficiency OPV could reach in general? Is there a difference to other material systems used in PV?
Phoebe: Since 2017, the new discovery of non-fullerene acceptors (NFA) has been regarded as a key development for OPV technology in the past 10 years. The theoretical estimates by KAUST Solar Center have shown that if NFA based OPV devices could achieve balanced electron and holes mobilities > 10-3cm2/Vs coupled with low non-geminate recombination rate of 10-12cm2/s, such OPV devices are capable of achieving efficiencies > 20% for single junction and 25% for two terminal tandem OPV devices. And indeed, over the past 2-3 years, the non-fullerene based devices have broken the ceiling PCE of the past fullerene based systems of 15% and achieving >17%  in academical scientific reports. The  introductory of non-fullerene based acceptor in OPV technology is indeed a paradigm shift as it offers (1) increased photocurrent due to higher absorption coefficient and an extendable absorption spectrum to NIR, (2) improved cell voltage due to reduction in non-radiative energy losses,  (3) high device photostability, which is quite a prominent issue in the past standard fullerene-based systems.

OrganicPV.info: As a last question and maybe not directly linked to OPV: Taiwan seems to push hard currently to speed up the ratio of renewable energy (especially PV) in the country’s energy mix. How is the society’s perception of renewables in Taiwan?
Phoebe: Taiwan is an island nation with nearly zero natural resources for energy production. Hence, Taiwan is extremely reliant on imported energy sources. Over the years, public awareness of Taiwan’s energy issues has rapidly increased with ever-rising electricity costs during the summer season, and air pollution leading to common haze issue making in particular, the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan turning a notable portion of the public against nuclear energy, which has since become a politically charged issue. Therefore, the development of renewable energy-based power has received great support in the government and from the people, leading to the aforementioned goal of having 27GW total renewable energy generation capacity by 2025, which is likely to be the biggest driver of change in the renewable energy markets.

Thanks Phoebe for the interview and we wish successful business and growth to your company in this technology field.

Your OrganicPV.info Team

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