At the upcoming 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (21 - 25 September, Hamburg, Germany), IMEC will present a host of new partners within its Silicon Solar Cell Industrial Affiliation program (IIAP). Among these are MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., Leybold Optics Dresden GmbH, Roth & Rau AG and Mallinckrodt Baker B.V.
IMEC's recently launched IIAP is a multi-partner, private-public R&D program set up to accelerate the development of crystalline silicon solar cells that will lower production cost and cut the amount of silicon per watt in half. The initiative targets efficiencies of about 20 percent by exploring both wafer-based bulk-silicon and epitaxial cells.
With this ambitious but realistic goal, IMEC brings together silicon solar cell manufacturers, as well as equipment and material suppliers, based on a strong partnership of sharing talent, risk and cost, intellectual property and creating new opportunities for proprietary IP within the program.
"Communicating the abundant opportunities for proprietary IP in solar cell development is of utmost importance," says Jef Poortmans, Program Director Solar+ at IMEC. "Some companies may be hesitating to join partnership programs, since they cannot differentiate in products based on technologies such as CMOS. However, IMEC's new IIAP performs research on mono-crystalline reference substrates. The partners will fine-tune the results on their own substrates."
An integral part of IMEC's solar cell program is installing a state-of-the-art pilot line that will allow all IIAP partners to conduct advanced solar-cell process development in a semi-industrial environment. This will enable an efficient transfer of results directly to their production lines. IMEC's IIAP program is supported by the regional Flemish Government with a grant of 8.7 million euros for building the pilot line.
"Our IIAP program," Poortmans says, "sets out to create innovative fabrication processes for new generations of silicon solar cells.
Manufacturers as well as material and equipment suppliers work with IMEC's solar experts on advanced processes and test them on our pilot line."
In addition IMEC will demonstrate its latest research results on silicon solar cells (Booth B4U/17). Also, IMEC presents its organic solar cell technology based on spray coating as a deposition technique, for fully solution-processed polymer solar cells and high-efficiency stacked solar cells.