AZUR SPACE has carved a niche for itself in the field of space and terrestrial solar cell applications by providing high-performance solar cells. The company's Si and GaAs solar cells are renowned for their unmatched quality and efficiency rates. In fact, AZUR SPACE is the sole producer of GaAs cells in Europe and only one of the three producers of this cell, worldwide.
The solar power industry still lacks a viable technology that can enable the mass production of solar panels. Moreover, customers are reluctant to switch to the high-cost solar energy solutions, especially in the current economic climate. Companies need to reduce production costs to earn higher profit margins and promote this form of renewable energy.
AZUR SPACE has been working hard on technology advancement to plug the holes in product development. It uses special semiconductor grades of Czochralski-grown material to prepare its silicon cells on, while its GaAs-based cells are prepared by metal organic vapor phase epitaxy (MOVPE) on germanium (Ge) substrates.
"The company's cell production for satellite application ranges from the standard silicon cells to the very high efficiency GaAs cells with more than 30 percent efficiency in space that includes not only protection diodes but also maximized end-of-life efficiency and power-to-weight ratios," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Suchismita Das. "The range of Si cells produced by AZUR SPACE also includes highly specialised ones for deep space missions." AZUR SPACE claims to produce the best solar cells for satellite applications.
At present, only triple junction cells of the Gallium Indium Phosphide (GaInP)/GaAs/Ge kind are in production. These GaAs cells are not only used for space applications but also for custom-designed terrestrial concentrated PV systems.
At the moment 38 percent efficient solar cells for terrestrial concentrator application are in production at AZUR SPACE. It leverages its close ties with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE to develop and launch 40 percent-efficient concentrated photovoltaic (PV) cells for terrestrial applications next year. In the longer term, cells with 50% efficiency should be possible, which will result in about 35% AC overall system efficiency.
AZUR SPACE produces its Si and GaAs cells in an integral Cell FAB on a 4,500 meter square production area with a cell capacity equivalent to 350 KW (annually). The company is ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified and has qualified for recertification as per requirements.
Apart from serving the space and terrestrial market with its high-quality solar cells, AZUR SPACE is also planning to enter the healthcare market with its unique offer of solar cells. It is researching ways to use the GaAs technology for medical applications such as X-ray detectors. Although this is still in a nascent stage, the company is optimistic about a breakthrough innovation. The company has already won a medical innovation award from the German Ministry of Research for its research activities in the medical space.
"The company's innovation of triple junction cells for satellites is a breakthrough technological innovation that led to the complete transition from silicon cells to triple junction GaAs cells in 2008 for space applications," notes Das. "The company is rolling out this technology in the United States and is making efforts to introduce it in the market and compete against the existing silicon counterparts."
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in capturing the highest annual compound growth rate for the last three years.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
About AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH
Starting its business as a part of Telefunken GmbH in 1964, AZUR SPACE (azurspace.com) began developing and producing solar cells for space applications in Heilbronn, Germany. Till date, the company has equipped over 360 satellites with its solar cells. AZUR SPACE also meets quality compliances as it is ISO 14001-certified and so on. The company has a remarkable history that includes the introduction of silicon solar cells for space applications in Europe in 1964, the introduction of multicrystalline silicon solar cell in 1974 (worldwide) and the development of the first fully automated production line in screen-printing technology in 1983. It is also responsible for the introduction of the high-efficiency silicon solar cell with 18 percent efficiency in 1986 and the development of GaAs in 2001. AZUR SPACE claims to become the sole producer of gallium arsenide solar cells in Europe and will offer PV cells with 41.4 percent efficiency for terrestrial concentrator systems (at present, these cells are in the development phase).
AZUR SPACE Solar Power GmbH Contact Information
Dr. Gerhard Strobl, Director Business Development & Projects
P: +49 7131 67-3190
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The company's Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEO's Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models to drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan leverages over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and the investment community from 40 offices on six continents.