Every time the Indian company Moser Baer celebrates a new and innovative step in the production of solar panels, the same happens in Eindhoven, Brabant. There, at OM&T / Moser Baer Technologies Europe on the High Tech Campus, they are justly proud to acknowledge that the R&D Centre has helped its Indian parent company to yet another of its many achievements.
Many years ago, when this Eindhoven Company, known initially as Optical Disc Technology Centre (ODTC) and later as Optical Media & Technology (OM&T), was still a division of Philips, it earned worldwide renown for its advances in optics. “In particular, the global acceptance of the CD and its successors in the optical disc range, the DVD and the Blu-ray disc (BD), was partly due to the company’s contribution to the standardization program implemented by Philips and a few Japanese corporations”, recalls OM&T’s CEO, Jan P. van den Brink, remembering the period prior to 2007. In that year, his company became a division of Moser Baer Technologies. “We are currently applying our high-quality technological know-how and our experience from this former life to the solar industry.” And the company has never looked back. For that matter, OM&T started first by helping the Indian global manufacturer of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs to expand its portfolio by producing Blu-ray discs.
”OM&T’s research programme contributes to the cost reduction of the production of solar cells. In the long term, those panels cost too much as they require expensive silicon”, explains Van den Brink. “We have to make things cheaper if we want to mass-produce solar panels. It can be done, by using a thin film of silicon on glass and by using CIGS materials.” And that is what OM&T is doing right now, which includes work on light incidence filters that increase the yield of the solar panels. Van den Brink: “Backed by our R&D experience from our previous work on optical discs, we can provide added value to the most advanced types of energy applications.” The lighting industry is also benefiting from this added value, as one of OM&T’s key activities is the development of organic LED lights (OLED).
High Tech Campus - a catalyst
In 2010, OM&T relocated within Eindhoven to the High Tech Campus. “This high tech community suits us to a T”, says Van den Brink. “We were already using the open innovation network supplied by Philips Research. The concept of the High Tech Campus is an additional catalyst, and very handy too, as several companies can use the expensive research facilities (clean room and equipment), and share those costs.” Moreover, OM&T works closely with technical universities, such as the one in Eindhoven, and with knowledge institutes, such as TNO and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). “We belong to an R&D network”, says Van den Brink, explaining the advantages of all those cross-connections. “This network allows us to expand and secure the solar industry in this region. The production is in good hands with Moser Baer, and working together with the region’s equipment builders is essential for future increases in production volumes. We are the ones supplying the innovations, implicitly exporting Brabant R&D awareness to India.”