Dow Corning, a global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation,
signed a three-year contract with imec
to perform joint research on next generations of crystalline silicon solar cells.
In the framework of imec's industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on silicon
solar cells, Dow Corning has joined several program activities.
With its silicon solar cell IIAP, imec has set up a research ecosystem with
the aim to create innovative processes to fabricate the next generations of
silicon solar cells. The R&D program concentrates on sharply reducing the
silicon use, whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency of solar cells.
This could substantially lower the cost for solar energy.
The collaboration between Dow Corning and imec will focus on topics where Dow
Corning's advanced materials can bring enabling solutions for the processing
and interconnection of future solar cells. An example is a silicone encapsulant
process for integrated cell and module processing. Due to the use of very thin
and large wafers, cell processing and module assembly become increasingly challenging.
Imec and Dow Corning will combine new cell structures with novel silicone encapsulant
processes with a goal of producing cost-effective modules with ultra-thin cells.
By joining the silicon solar cell IIAP, researchers from Dow Corning will be
able to closely collaborate with the research team of imec and its silicon solar
cell partners to build up fundamental understanding and develop robust material
solutions for next-generation silicon-based solar cells.
“With Dow Corning joining our silicon solar cell IIAP, our research can
benefit from the latest innovations in materials. By bringing together all the
different players in the silicon solar cell value chain, ranging from energy
companies, solar cell manufacturers to material and equipment suppliers, we
can speed up the development of new processes which are tested on a semi-industrial
pilot line. As such we accelerate the transfer to mass production;” said
Jef Poortmans, Program Director imec Energy.
“We are very excited to step into this program and to contribute with
our silicon-based materials to the design of the next generation solar cells
and modules,” said Eric Peeters, Vice President, Dow Corning Solar Business.
“It is all about commercializing new technologies that will make solar
panels more efficient and more durable, leading to a significant reduction of
the cost per kWh of energy generated with photovoltaics. Dow Corning strongly
believes in imec's approach to bring world leaders across the value chain
together to work synergistically and make step-change innovation a reality.”