With the cost of solar coming down as efficiency levels of solar cells go up, it’s becoming more important to find more ways to the get the most out of marterials. That’s where 1366 Technologies’ latest advancement comes in. The company said its Direct Wafer process is able to grow a “three dimensional” wafer or a thin silicon wafer with a thick border, which reduces the amount of silicon required for each wafer without sacrificing strength, durability or performance.
“The unique capabilities of our Direct Wafer process are an enabler for the crystalline silicon industry to continue its dominant market share position and deliver progressively lower-cost PV solutions for years to come,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies. “The 3D wafer feature allows us to meet the industry’s anticipated need for thinner wafers without compromising existing standards or asking manufacturers to abandon their existing manufacturing lines.”
According to 1366, standard wafers used in the solar industry are between 180 and 200 microns thick. Thinner wafers can break during fabrication. The Direct Wafer technique can make sure that the wafers are that thick in higher-stress areas, like the edges of a silicon solar cell. But they can still be thinner in the middle, around 100 to 120 microns, reducing silicon consumption to roughly 1.5 grams per watt.
Since the technology is based in silicon photovoltaics, which most commercial PV manufacturers use, as opposed to thin-films or other emerging technologies it’s also a drop-in solution. As such 1366 said it can be implemented as manufacturing plants without requiring a remodeling of production facilities.
“The beauty of our Direct Wafer process is that the innovation begets further innovation,” van Mierlo contended. “The ability to access the wafer surface during growth is a tremendous advantage and the source of more innovation to come.”Tweet