pmIndia: Indo-German Centre for New Media and Green Printing

Since 2004, the Professorship Print Media Technology of Chemnitz University of Technology (pmTUC) has been active in India under the brand “pmIndia” with the following main goals: (a) recruitment of young high potentials, (b) establishment of applied research in India, and (c) development of cooperation in basic research. Past experience has shown that successful realisation of these plans is only possible with permanent presence in India. Therefore, pmTUC established a Representative Office in Mumbai (2010) and launched the pmIndia Innovation Lab at Manipal University in January 2013.

Printed paper photovoltaic cells processed by pmTUC

Printed paper photovoltaic cells processed by pmTUC © B. Trnovec/pmTUC

Scientific Background

pmTUC is a leading and internationally renowned institution for research and education in printing and media technologies. The team combines research in traditional printing press engineering with topics related to electronics and media technology. Especially in the innovative research field of printed electronics, pmTUC could establish a worldwide leading position during the last years. In 2011, the research group presented the first printed paper solar cells. This invention, which has an enormous potential in the Indian market, has been the basis for the work of pmIndia Innovation Lab.

Project and Objectives

The advantage of printed paper photovoltaic (3PV) cells is their low-cost production. Hence they could become a real alternative to conventional silicon-based solar cells. Further, the handling of paper solar cells is much easier and differs considerably from that of silicon solar cells. With its climate conditions and the high number of rural households without power supply, India seems to provide the perfect application field. This requires various tests of the 3PV technology under real climatic conditions and with local users. These tests will be carried out and evaluated by the research team at pmIndia Innovation Lab in Manipal. Further, possible business models, distribution channels, cost structures etc. have to be identified. In the long term, existing local printing plants should be able to print and sell 3PV cells and end-users run the solar modules individually and recycle them later.

Aspects of Research Structure

The establishment of a centre for applied research in India perfectly supplements the basic research done at pmTUC in Germany. pmIndia Innovation Lab should become an important platform to present first prototypes and applications and, thus, enable a technology transfer. Additionally, the given environment at Manipal University and the proximity of pmIndia Innovation Lab and Manipal University Technology Business Incubator offers the chance for future start-up activities.

Funded in the context of the BMBF funding programme to establish joint research structures of German universities with partners in APRA. More information on APRA.