Future technology with growth potential
Organic electronics is seen as a future technology with enormous growth potential. Based in Bahnstadt, the research and transfer platform InnovationLab GmbH organizes the leading-edge cluster Forum Organic Electronics. The cooperation network made up of around 30 companies, research facilities and universities together promote the development of organic electronics in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region. It received funding worth EUR 40 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and a further EUR 5 million through support measures from the state of Baden-Württemberg.
In addition, Heidelberg Technology Park is currently planning to build the “Organic Electronics Business Development Center” on the site of the former Patton Barracks at the edge of Bahnstadt. The building on the former US military compound will offer space and infrastructure for research, development and production – for companies involved in promoting innovations in the field of printed electronics.
“There are many companies working to translate research findings into marketable products. We want to give these companies the appropriate environment in the Business Development Center. This includes affordable rents for specialist laboratories, clean rooms and offices, as well as support in the form of a network that already exists,” explains the CEO of Heidelberg Technology Park, Dr. André Domin.
Organic electronics targets applications in which electronic components are manufactured using conductive plastics. These electronic components are the key to creating flexible screens – mobile phones that can bend in your pocket – or to enable photovoltaic systems to be shaped to fit curved surfaces.
Organic electronics products complement silicon-based electronics. They reduce costs, do away with the need for rare earth elements, are light and unbreakable, and reduce energy consumption and environmental pollution both in the manufacturing process and transportation.
Heidelberg is the location of another leading-edge cluster funded by BMBF: the Biotech Cluster Rhine-Neckar (BioRN), which also received around EUR 40 million. The network comprises around 200 partners from biotech companies, service providers, industry-specific suppliers and research facilities.