Proposal Title Commercialization Efforts for the Scaled-Up Manufacturing of Copper based Inks used in the Photovoltaic Industry
Category Materials Science and Advanced Manufacturing
Abstract Metallization of silicon solar cells accounts for almost 10% of the module cost; primarily due to the high cost of silver used in the conductive inks. With installed PV set to grow by over 200 GW in the next 3 years, the potential for a successful commercial opportunity by providing a cost saving product to this industry is high. Bert Thin Films, LLC is proposing to formulate copper based inks for replacement of the silver metallization pastes used on crystalline silicon solar cells. Copper has a number of technological issues associated with its application on silicon, which arise from its high diffusivity. Therefore cost savings from the employment of a material that is a hundred times cheaper than silver, can be lost by the addition of new equipment in to the manufacturing lines in order to implement diffusion barriers. By employing a technology that utilizes a low cost synthesis method to form an inherent diffusion barrier within the ink; the company will present a scalable solution for the direct replacement of silver with copper. In order to insure the long term success of the Bert Thin Films, the company will formulate inks that will cater to the current and anticipated future printing methodologies of the PV industry. Through focused technical tasks the company will seek to identify any hurdles, which may challenge the scale up of the synthesis process in phase II of the project. The company will also develop commercial sized working prototypes that can be used to demonstrate proof of concept. The devices will provide tangible evidence to garner private investment and foster new customer relationships. In order to accelerate commercial adoption of the technology, key activities including competition review, customer outreach and business model evaluation will be conducted.
Amount Awarded $150,000
Keywords Copper; Inks, Nanoparticles, Crystalline Silicon, Solar Cells, Prototypes, Manufacturing, Commercialization, Photovoltaics
Point of Contact Venda Walter
Bert Thin Films, LLC
Location Louisville
Jefferson County