March 2013

ECN as gateway to the Asian energy technology market

The China solar grade silicon and photovoltaic power generation conference, which was co-organised by ECN in Shanghai last December, was a success. At this conference, we presented our N-type solar cells to the Chinese PV market. These solar cells, which are made from phosphorus doped silicon, are able to realise higher efficiencies than the conventional P-type cells. ECN organised the conference together with NLAgency, Dutch businesses such as Tempress, Levitech and Eurotron, and several European partners, including the Norwegian research institute SINTEF and the German PV manufacturer RENA.

Growth market

Asia is also an important growth market in the field of sustainable energy. That is why ECN is investing in establishing good relationships with this continent. The aim is not only to deploy our own technology as widely as possible, but also to offer new opportunities to Dutch trade and industry. To this end, we opened an office in Beijing and appointed chemist Ye Zhang-Steenwinkel, who is of Chinese descent, as technology transfer consultant and business developer. Zhang: ‘We gave our presentation to let the Chinese industry know that together with our industrial partners, we are ready to help them advance.' This meeting has yielded many new contacts, not only between Dutch and Asian partners, but also within the European and Dutch industries. These contacts can result in new partnership projects and assignments for Dutch businesses.

Ye Zhang presented ECN's N-type solar cell and module technology in Shanghai.

Lowering the cost price

China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels and energy generated from wind. At this moment, solar panel producers are experiencing a difficult period due to surplus capacity. Therefore the industry is seeking options to lower cost prices and to increase production efficiency.  A large gap still exists between the knowledge present in Europe and the manufacturing facilities in Asia. ECN wants to bridge this gap. In these manufacturing countries, we aim to better deploy knowledge and expertise in the field of sustainable energy together with partners. One way to do so is to offer consultancy services to Chinese manufacturers who experience difficulties in manufacturing by offering them access to innovative technology that is ready for use and by contributing expertise in partnership projects. Our activities in China provide a gateway to Asian partners for Dutch and European businesses.

Read an interview with ECN’s Ye Zhang in SolarPVInvestor.

Are you interested in accessing the Asian market for sustainable energy together with ECN? Dr Ye Zhang-Steenwinkel of ECN ( knows the culture and the best ways to realise contacts. Give her a call at +31 224 564045 or +31 6 10147741.