New flexible solar cell technology in development


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8US-based Natcore Technology with research partner Rice University has developed what it describes as an inorganic flexible thin film solar cell by solution processes.

The production process for the cells has the potential to move to a roll-to-roll manufacturing lineThe device was made using Natcore’s liquid phase deposition (LPD) process. A cadmium/selenium (CdSe) absorber layer was grown onto a back contact substrate based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT). LPD was also used to grow a copper/selenium (CuSe) window layer onto which silver contacts were deposited. The resulting solar device shows potential for this process to make a flexible solar cell, free of high temperature semiconductor processing.

With further work the process has potential for roll-to-roll (R2R) production. The company’s R&D centre is situated near a former Kodak R2R photo film plant in Rochester, New York state.

Black silicon

A few years ago Natcore Technologies began attracting interest for its LPD technology in an application for improving the light absorption properties of multi-crystalline silicon cells, known as black silicon solar cells. LPD, developed at Rice University, makes it possible to grow a wide range of inorganic materials on a range of substrates using a room-temperature, environmentally friendly chemical bath.

In the flexible solar cell work nanotubes were used for a back contact embedded into the absorber layer, reducing the diffusion length to the back contact, to potentially lead to higher efficiency, because of a lower percentage of hole electron recombination.

There is potential to make the development compatible with the company’s multi-junction tandem solar cell technology to enable high efficiency extremely thin and flexible solar cells.

Other companies bringing to market high efficiency flexible thin film solar cells include Alta Devices, which has developed a process of growing very thin layers of solar cell materials on gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafers. The California-based company has been working on a GaAs solar cell technology for military and other applications, targeting the commercial unmanned aerial vehicle (UAE) market where very lightweight and efficient solar cells on the wings of craft can extend flight times without adding extra weight.

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Major Breakthroughs in Solar Technology for 2013


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8Despite a tough market leading to widespread cost reductions and negative returns for many operators in the photovoltaic sector in 2012, solar technology nonetheless took major strides and achieved a number of landmark breakthroughs in key research areas.

 

In materials research, the North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, North Carolina used cutting-edge nanotechnology to develop slimmer and more affordable solar cells.

The cells are comprised of sandwiched nanostructures which not only cut down on material usage and expenditures but also improve solar absorption and raise conversion efficiency.

As an added bonus, the manufacturing processes for the new technology are compatible with techniques currently employed throughout the industry for the production of thin-film solar cells.

In terms of government-funded initiatives, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a research arm of the US Department of Energy, teamed up with Natcore Technology to create the most absorbent solar cell ever devised, capable of capturing some 99.7 per cent of available sunlight.

 The new technology resulting from this collaborative effort between the government and private sectors could reduce the cost of solar cells by around two to three per cent while lifting energy output by up to 10 per cent. The black silicon used for the cells is also far cheaper than standard anti-reflection technologies.
nanotechnology-solar-cells-1A key area of research for 2012 was improved storage techniques for renewable energies, with scientists from Houston’s Rice University in Texas developing a remarkable “paintable” battery which can be applied to any tractable surface. The rechargeable battery opens a new vista of possibilities for the convenient storage of solar energy.

In the field of flexible thin-film cells, a joint undertaking between scientists from Canada and Saudi Arabia smashed the world record for solar efficiency, surpassing the ousted place holder by a staggering 37 per cent. The colloidal quantum dot (CQD) thin-film solar cell, developed by scientists from Canada’s University of Toronto and the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Saudi Arabia, achieved a world-record efficiency level of seven per cent via the application of a “hybrid passivation scheme.”

The new technology could potentially be applied to the cheap, mass manufacture of thin-film solar cells by using flexible substrates to “print” the devices in a process akin to that traditionally employed for the production of newspapers.paintable-battery-rice-university

 

 

Natcore’s Black Silicon Highlighted at Bright Lights Conference


“Game-Changing Technology” Cited as
Reason for Invitation.

Red Bank, NJ – (October 1, 2012) –Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK was recently a featured presenter at the prestigious Bright Lights Conference, Wall Street’s only disruptive technology conference, which focuses exclusively on companies the sponsor believes can transform their industries with game-changing technology.

Natcore was selected as one of 30 public and private companies to present at this invitation-only event. Aimed at making solar power cost-competitive with power generated using fossil fuels, Natcore’s technologies produce solar cells by growing thin film anti-reflective coatings on silicon substrates in a liquid bath at ambient pressures. Natcore believes these cells will be less expensive, more productive, and less environmentally harmful than cells produced using standard industry processes.

Natcore’s presentation centered on the company’s black silicon and tandem solar cell technologies. The conference was attended by institutional and private investors with interest in technology sectors ranging from clean energy to enterprise software to healthcare

“This was the second time in recent months that respected observers have called our technology ‘game-changing,'” says Chuck Provini, Natcore president and CEO. “Lux Research used the same language in a research report.”

The Bright Lights conference is sponsored by MDB Capital Group, an investment banking and institutional research firm focused exclusively on companies possessing or seeking to develop market changing, disruptive technologies and intellectual property. This was their third annual conference.

Natcore Technology is the exclusive licensee, from Rice University, of a remarkable new thin-film growth technology. Although the implications of this discovery for semiconductors and fiber optics are significant and wide-ranging, our technology has two immediate and compelling applications in the solar sector:

  • It could enable silicon solar cell manufacturers to reduce silicon usage by over 60%— thereby dramatically decreasing costs, improving profit margins and boosting throughput.
  • Most importantly, it promises to allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells with double the power output of today’s most efficient devices. Projections show our process has the potential to allow these solar cells to be manufactured at a lower cost than anything currently commercially available.

 

Making Solar Energy Economically Viable

Advocates of alternative energy face an inconvenient, but incontrovertible, fact:

It takes hugely rich government subsidies to make 
solar energy cost-competitive with conventional power.

Most people believe it’s going to be that way for many years to come. We think they’re going to be proven wrong.

That’s because we control a remarkable new thin-film growth process that could completely change the way solar cells are manufactured.

We’re replacing the traditional thermal vacuum processes, such as CVD and PECVD (chemical vapor deposition, plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, etc.) for making solar cells with our liquid phase deposition (LPD) wet chemistry process.

We think LPD is the future of solar. It is at the core of everything we do. It results in solar cells of higher quality, and is safer, cleaner and less expensive than CVD. That’s why we’re using multiple LPD-based applications to make solar power cost-competitive with conventional power.

 

David Levy Joins Natcore Technology

As Director of Research & Technology

Red Bank, NJ — (September 6, 2012) — Dr. David H. Levy, the recipient of a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT who invented the atmospheric Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition process (SALD), has joined Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK) as Director of Research & Technology.

 

Natcore Technology Closes $2.5 Million Non-Brokered Private Placement

Red Bank, NJ — (July 20, 2012) —Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK) has today completed a C$2.5 million private placement. The funds will be used to complete optimization of the company’s promising black silicon technology and to build a production version of Natcore’s AR-Box™ processing station. This version would be capable of etching and coating cells with black silicon at a rate of 1,500 to 2,000 cells per hour.

Natcore Technology is the exclusive licensee, from Rice University, of a remarkable new thin-film growth technology. Although the implications of this discovery for semiconductors and fiber optics are significant and wide-ranging, our technology has two immediate and compelling applications in the solar sector:

  • It could enable silicon solar cell manufacturers to reduce silicon usage by over 60%— thereby dramatically decreasing costs, improving profit margins and boosting throughput.
  • Most importantly, it promises to allow, for the first time, mass manufacturing of super-efficient (30%+) tandem solar cells with double the power output of today’s most efficient devices. Projections show our process has the potential to allow these solar cells to be manufactured at a lower cost than anything currently commercially available.

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Statements in this press release other than purely historical factual information, including statements relating to revenues or profits, or Natcore’s future plans and objectives, or expected sales, cash flows, and capital expenditures constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions and are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties inherent in Natcore’s business, including risks inherent in the technology history. There can be no assurance that such forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on such statements. Except in accordance with applicable securities laws, Natcore expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or forward-looking statements that are incorporated by reference herein.

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