"Agrivoltaics is "the Next Big Thing" for our country, which is in a favorable position for their application and development in terms of climate, as well as technology".
The above was emphasized, among others, by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development & Food of Greece, Ms. Ch. Kalogirou, opening the international conference Agrivoltaics 2022 held on Wednesday, 12 October 2022, at the Divani Caravel Hotel in Athens, Greece, together with the 12th International Conference & Exhibition on Green Flexible Printed Electronics Industry (ICEFPE22), 10-11 October 2022.
Ms. Kalogirou particularly emphasized on the technologies integrated in agricultural production, but also in greenhouse crops, explaining that solutions such as Agrivoltaics are high on the "agenda" of the Ministry.
"Agrivoltaics a revolution in the Triple Land use for the Optimum Crop & Energy production and Reduction of Water Consumption by the Semi-Transparent Photovoltaics", was the main topic of the Opening & Keynote Presentation by Prof. S. Logothetidis, President of HOPE-A and OET, and Founder & Director of Nanotechnology Lab LTFN.
Prof. S. Logothetidis explained the development of the OPVs Technology and the contribution of the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN (www.ltfn.gr), the company Organic Electronic Technologies – OET (www.oe-technologies.com) and other European companies and organizations to the development of printed transparent electronics. Moreover, he announced the first in the world OPV Mass Production Line that will be developed and installed in the Thessaloniki area that is under preparation for funding by the European Commission.
The President of HOPE-A, Prof. S. Logothetidis also emphasized on the global challenges and the benefits of the 3rdGen of semi-transparent Organic Photovoltaics by triple land use (energy generation, food production and water reduction) and additional the reduction of carbon footprint, a crucial issue for Humanity.
Flexible and Printed Organic Electronics offer an emerging technology that can revolutionize Agriculture. These can provide unprecedented numerous solutions, which include: energy generation and efficiency based on the use of flexible semitransparent OPVs that can adapted on the Greenhouse structure, artificial lighting based on OLEDs with tunable emission spectra to provide tailored solutions in promoting the growth and yield of any crop type, as well as printable Sensors and Biosensors to provide real-time information on the environmental and greenhouse conditions and crops quality and health.
Moreover, the world’s first totally energy autonomous Greenhouse based on semitransparent OPV in the roof with hydroponic tomato cultivation has been developed by OET and installed in Thessaloniki, Greece. The semitransparent flexible OPVs are revolutionizing Agriculture by providing unique advantages to the Greenhouses including:
- Energy Generation
- Easy Adaptable on Every Surface
- Easily Integrated on Greenhouse Roof
- Tuned Transparency depending on the Specification for each Crop
- Reduction of Incident Solar Irradiance close to Optimum values for Plant growth
- Blocking of harmful UV-RADIATION
- Effective Shading and lowering the inner Temperature in Summer Months
- Increased Crop Yield up to 30%
- Improvement of Energy Efficiency
- Reduce Water use
Mr. Ch. Varlamis, OET’s CEO and Ms. E. Athanasiadou, OET’s Agronomist, analyzed the advantages of using 3rd generation OPV, Organic Semitransparent PV in greenhouses and the potential of the company's Autonomous Energy Greenhouse operating in Thermi Thessaloniki.
Prof. A. Laskarakis from the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, presented the state-of-the-art on the implementation of Artificial lighting in Agriculture by the use of LED and OLED Lighting to promote crop yield in next generation Greenhouses, and Dr. Ch. Gravalidis, presented the activities of the R&D Project “Photokipia” through which the pilot operation is being developed of OPVs in Mediterranean Greenhouses.
Dr. M. Teitel from the Institute of Agricultural Engineering at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel, presented their experiences from the examination of the feasibility of using semi-transparent flexible OPV modules as greenhouse cover/shading materials. The implementation of OPVs in Greenhouses led to higher photosynthesis efficiency whereas the grown tomatoes were more durable when these were shaded by the OPVs.
The General Director of HOPE-A, Dr. A. Hatziparadeisis presented the R&I Strategies for Smart Specialization (RIS3) for the previous programming period and for the period 2021-2027. He also proposed the establishment of a Special Action to support Agrivoltaics in Greenhouses in specific areas of the country where there are greenhouse crops.
ICEFPE22 Conference: Greece as a Solar Innovation Hub
The opening of the ICEFPE22 Conference was announced by the General Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Alexandra Sdoukou, who made an extensive reference to the contribution of Photovoltaics and 3rd Generation Photovoltaics specifically.
"Greece can turn into a solar innovation hub", stressed among others by Ms. A. Sdoukou, speaking as a representative of the Government, at the 12th International Conference on the Green Flexible Printed Electronics Industry (ICEFPE22 October 10-12, Divani Caravel Hotel).
Ms. A. Sdoukou referred in detail to the Ministry's program for decarbonization and the transition to Green Energy and RES in the coming years, emphasizing that the rate of electricity production from RES in 2022 increased by 33% in our country. She even announced that in the next period investments in photovoltaics will have the lion's share and hundreds of new jobs will be created.
For their part, both the Deputy Head of the Energy Sector of SYRIZA Party P. Perka and the Deputy Head of the PASOK party Prof. H. Doukas underlined the important work produced by the Organic Photovoltaic ecosystem of the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN and the HOPE-A Association in its Sector of Green Energy and they added that the 3rd generation photovoltaics are an example of a successful connection between research and production.
The Vice-President of EDSNA, N. Papadakis, on behalf of the Attica Region, emphasized, among other things, that "the Region is willing to integrate these technologies into its energy projects".
Hundreds of "green tech" jobs
The President of HOPE-A and Director of the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, Prof. S. Logothetidis mentioned among others the semi-transparent 3rd generation Organic Photovoltaics and their applications as one of the most important applications of Green Technology.
Mr. Logothetidis reviewed the evolution of the new technologies of flexible printed electronics, and the creation of the Innovation Ecosystem for Organic Electronics and the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN that participated in the most important European projects for the foundation of the Organic Printed Electronics Industry, such as RealNano, Musicode, GrLight, Photokipia, Flexfunction2Sustain, which are in progress.
HOPE-A Association's role
For his part, Innovation & Dissemination Manager of the HOPE-A Association, Mr. V. Bakalis, referred to the work of the HOPE-A, which has created a dense network of partnerships in Greece and abroad, offering opportunities for communication, contacts and promotion of member companies of the industry. The Association, which was also a co-organizer of the ICEFPE22 Conference, participates in exhibitions and conferences in Greece and abroad, while co-organizing two of the most important scientific-business events of the sector, the NANOTEXNOLOGY multi-conference and Exhibition which takes place in early July in Thessaloniki and the ICEFPE22 in October in Athens.
In the context of the Conference on Green Printed Energy and the Electronics Industry, the European program Flexfunction2Sustain was also presented, which is aimed at start-up companies and companies that are in the first stages of their development with the aim of reducing plastic waste and creating innovative products. FF2S offers unique financing possibilities for companies, but also the necessary consulting of experts in the field not only from Greece (LTFN Lab, HOPE-A) but also from other European countries.
Innovative companies from Greece and abroad
Special emphasis was placed at ICEFPE22 on innovation, entrepreneurship and partnerships.
Innovative companies in the field of printed electronics from Greece, Central Europe and Canada, the LTFN Lab and the HOPE-A were presented.
Dr. S. Kassavetis from the Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, referred, among other things, to the unique printed electronics production system (roll to roll) that exists in south-east Europe and is installed in Thermi, Thessaloniki.
The Product Manager of BL Nanobiomed Mr. A. Orfanos presented the printed virus detection sensors produced through European projects on the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the SMEs and start-up companies that participated in the International Conference, as well as in the competition section, are the companies Techlumen , which specializes in lighting and energy solutions for buildings, and Deltampis, which undertakes solving technical and research issues for large companies & industries. Techlumen developed many innovative fixtures, won design awards, and gained significant market share in linear fluorescent lighting and the residential lighting. First in the Greek market manufactured and offered the electronic ballast, which decreased energy consumption and improved the reliability of the luminaire.
The company Solaires from Canada presented new perovskite solar cell technologies that further develop solar radiation by amplifying it. The company developes the next generation of solar cells, which are made from perovskite-based structures.
Dr. L. Tenchine from From the Technical Center of the French Plastics and Composites Industry (IPC), presented their new smart product production technologies and how IPC make these available to small and medium enterprises. Among the companies in the sector that participated in the competitive part of start-ups, the representatives of the KET Market platform, which deals with the promotion and networking of companies in the sector, also participated.
Products and Applications of the Organic Electronics Industry
Mr. Th. Kolbusch Vice President of Coatema, emphasized on quality control as well as on sustainable materials in the industrial production of Organic Electronics. Coatema is a world class manufacturer of production equipment and machines for Organic Electronics, and is one of the key members of HOPE-A Business Association. Also, Coatema collaborates with other ecosystem partners (Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, Organic Electronic Technologies-OET, BL Nanobiomed, HOPE-A) in major European programs for the development of the Flexible Printed Electronics Industry.
Mr. E. Mekeridis, responsible for OET’s technological development, speaking about the Printed Flexible Electronics Industry, and the development of the production line with Industry 4.0 methods and technology, also referred to some of OET's emblematic collaborations such as the one with FIAT-Stellantis, but also in important European projects, in which the company has participated, to optimize the production of printed Organic Photovoltaics.
Innovation Awards in Start-Ups
The jury consisted of T. Kolbusch, Coatema, A. Laskarakis, Nanotechnology Lab LTFN, A. Chatziparadeisis, HOPE-A awarded prizes to the three SME’s:
- Solaires Enterprises from Canada (1st prize)
- Ket Market established in Germany (2nd prize)
- Organic Electronic Technologies (3rd prize)