Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

All around solar!

15.12.2010
Versatile Cluster plant at the Fraunhofer FEP opens up new perspectives for manufacturing thin film solar cells.

The new plant will allow Fraunhofer FEP researchers in Dresden to combine key vacuum technologies in any desired sequence and hence accelerate the development of favorably-priced solar cells.

If we follow the news, then the consequences of climate change appear to be already upon us. Abundantly clear also is that the availability of fossil fuels will be limited for the next generation. There is hence very broad consensus amongst the populace and politicians of the need to switch to alternative sources of energy provision as soon as possible.

The political will has been indicated, ambitious targets have been set, and the photovoltaic technology sector is booming. So what is holding us back from generating our electricity from solar energy? The main reasons for many homeowners not opting for photovoltaic systems are too high set-up costs and too inefficient solar cells.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP is pursuing a very promising approach for drastically reducing the cost of manufacturing solar cells. Fraunhofer FEP researchers have long been involved in the development of vacuum-based technologies which allow large areas to be coated and structured at favorable cost.

The commissioning of the new vacuum cluster plant was completed on Monday 13 December 2010, and is unique in Germany for the combination of processes it allows. The cluster plant was developed as part of the »Solarfabrik 2020« initiative, in collaboration with our regional industrial partner CREAVAC (Creative Vakuumbeschichtung GmbH). The project was financed under the federal government’s Economic Stimulus Program 1. The plant will now allow Fraunhofer FEP scientists to combine important technologies for manufacturing material-efficient thin film solar cells.

A solar cell comprises several layers, namely at least one light-absorbing layer, transparent contact layers, and an encapsulation layer must be applied to the support material. The optimum coating and processing method is usually different for each layer. In order for the whole industrial procedure to be as efficient as possible, these methods must be optimally adapted to each other and the overall processing sequence must be free of interruption. The benefit of the new cluster plant is that the Fraunhofer FEP now has a facility to combine any desired sequence of surface technologies without having to release the vacuum.

Frank-Holm Rögner, head of the business unit »Electron Beam Processes« at the Fraunhofer FEP, summarizes the advantages: »The cluster plant puts us in a position of being able to directly integrate newly developed processes into the overall production chain. This allows developments in the area of thin film photovoltaic technology to be significantly accelerated! The plan is to invest further, and create similar facilities for high-purity vacuum processes and structured coatings, including for other applications of resource-efficient energy technology.« The knowledge acquired from the plant will pave the way for industrial in-line plants for the mass production of thin film solar cells. The high production rates using vacuum processes promise coating costs of at maximum a few euros per square meter.

Further information on »Solarfabrik 2020« can be found at: http://www.solarfabrik2020.de

Scientific contact:

Dr. Marita Mehlstäubl
Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
Phone +49 351 2586-214
marita.mehlstaeubl@fep.fraunhofer.de
Press contact:
Annett Arnold
Fraunhofer Institute for Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP
Phone +49 351 2586-452
annett.arnold@fep.fraunhofer.de

Annett Arnold | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.fep.fraunhofer.de/enu/versanl/ERICA.asp
http://www.solarfabrik2020.de

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

nachricht To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>