Revolution in the production of solar cells

Revolution in the production of solar cells
Oerlikon Systems announced Thursday that it has developed a revolutionary production process that will simplify the manufacture of crystalline solar cells.

According to the head of the commercial division, Andreas Dill, "The trick is to combine our vast experience in the printing device of optical disk (CD / DVD / Blu-ray) with our advanced technology of nano-coating . It follows, Solaris, the first unique nanotechnological machine for coating, designed for mass production.

Production costs of solar energy depends not only on the efficiency of cells, but also the productivity of the manufacturing process. Andreas Dill continued: "If we want to reduce significantly the cost of solar energy to match the other energies, we must improve not only the cells themselves, but also rethinking the manufacturing process." The method of manufacturing existing standard for the coating of crystalline solar cells is based on very complex process demanding in terms of cleaning and maintenance manual.

During the manufacture of solar cells or photovoltaic with Solaris, very thin layers of silicon nitride are deposited on the upper surface of cells. The Solaris system also helps to coat the underside with various materials. Each pad is coated and treated separately. The machine can process wafers in standard sizes ranging from 125 mm2 to 156 mm2, with an average rate of up to 1 200 wafers per hour. Change format of substrate, coating material or coating process is feasible in less than an hour.

Andreas Dill explains: "With Solaris, we apply for the first time an advanced nanotechnology to the production of crystalline solar cells, which has tremendous advantages. First, with a footprint of 3.30 mx 2 m, requires Solaris 80 % of floor space and less compared to competing solutions. Secondly, this fully automated solution requires minimal maintenance. Third, Solaris has a much lower energy consumption (50%). Finally, last point and not least, reduced maintenance requirements result in a significant increase in the time available. "

The first client, a leading manufacturer of solar cells, is currently testing production with Solaris. But the development team has already Oerlikon for other future applications:

* The touch screens: integrated into a wide range of applications ranging from smart phones to personal computers, through refrigerators. Solaris uses a sensitive and conductive coating layer on the antiglare touch screen.

* The thermoelectric devices: These devices "green" generating electricity on contact with heat. The thin film layers are applied by Solaris and effective conduct electricity but not heat, which keeps the device in operation.

* The storage of energy: in fact, a family of applications including thin-film batteries with high efficiency (smaller and lighter) and advanced supercapacitors for energy storage; Solaris can provide methods of coating thin layers for all these applications.

For Oerlikon Systems, Solaris opens the way for a totally new world of advanced nanotechnology applications. Andreas Dill concludes: "Entering the market for crystalline solar cells is just the beginning."

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