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Posted in | Nanoenergy | Nanobusiness

Bio-Based Materials for Photovoltaic Solar Modules Poised to Decrease Industry’s Oil Dependence

Published on July 7, 2008 at 9:56 PM

BioSolar, Inc. reports that surging oil prices have resulted in unprecedented price hikes in photovoltaic solar module manufacturing, creating substantial growth opportunities for BioSolar. The company's breakthrough technology dramatically reduces the cost of solar modules by replacing traditional and expensive petroleum-based components with bio-based materials derived from renewable plant sources. This dramatic pricing differential is expected to accelerate demand for BioSolar's products as manufacturers scramble to control skyrocketing manufacturing and components costs.

“With the plastics industry undergoing price increases of up to 40% for petroleum-based plastics, we believe that the cost savings offered by our BioBacksheet™ product will accelerate manufacturers’ adoption of our product into their photovoltaic modules,” said Dr. David Lee, BioSolar’s CEO. “The savings will reduce the final cost per watt of solar electricity by allowing manufacturers to lower the cost of their finished product without being impacted by the rising cost of petroleum.”

A recent article in PlasticsNews underscores how manufacturers are impacted by price increases of commodity chemicals, as well as "almost unprecedented" run-ups in energy and raw materials costs. The June 22, 2008 article notes that companies are impacted not only by rising raw materials costs, but the associated electricity and transportation costs as well. Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council, says, “Each $1 increase in the price of a barrel of crude oil costs the chemical industry $660 million annually …For a $1 increase in 1 million BTUs of natural gas, it's $3.3 billion in new costs.“1

“The market for solar power is already in explosive growth mode, and photovoltaic technology has progressed markedly in recent years with advances making the cells more efficient, lighter and less expensive. But BioSolar is singularly positioned to lead the development of truly sustainable and cost-effective solar technology as the first company to introduce a new dimension of cost reduction by replacing petroleum-based plastic solar cell module components with durable non-food, bio-based materials,” said Lee.

BioSolar is in the process of transitioning into full-scale production of its BioBacksheet™ in a 60,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility operated by its contract manufacturing partner, Rowland Technologies, Inc.

By incorporating Rowland Technologies’ world-class manufacturing capabilities with BioSolar’s unique material engineering, BioSolar is producing an environmentally-friendly product with characteristics that exceed the thermal index requirements of solar module manufacturers.

“We expect this breakthrough product to be rapidly accepted as the standard for the backsheet component of both traditional and certain thin-film photovoltaic modules,” said Lee.

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