By Cameron Chai
Applied Nanotech Holdings will unveil its range of solar inks on May 6 at its new facility. The technology consisting of aluminum, copper, nickel and silver will use aerosolized jet, inkjet and spray coating techniques besides non-contact printing methods to deliver ultra-thin silicon wafers for PV applications.
Solar cell wafers at present need to be thick in order to withstand the direct contact metallization procedures, which deploy screen printing tools exposed to the wafer and exert a pressure that can fragment ultra-thin wafers. Silicon used in solar cells represents 50 to 60% of total production costs. Non-contact methods such as inkjet, aerosol jet and spray coating will ensure cost savings by using thin wafers.
Dr. Zvi Yaniv, company chief executive officer says that nanotechnology-based inking methods will not only help reduce solar cell costs but also harvest solar energy and maintain solar as one of the foremost renewable energy option available .
The company received $1.6 million government grant in September 2010 as part of The Recovery Act funds routed through the Department of Energy for developing the current project. The company procured a further 4000sqft in Austin, Texas, to help the company develop and manufacture models having its metallic inks printed on thin silicon solar cells, and create employment in the solar energy sector.
The development will allow the company to license its nano-particle inks, as well as its non-contact printing technology and encourage other players to enter the market.