Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Using Particle Accelerators to Make Cheap Solar?

It seems like it's about as cost efficient as thin film though because of the increased solar efficiency (up to 20%), with a smaller footprint (SFGate.com, see also HackerNews):

A device similar to the giant atom smashers used by physicists may be the key to cheaper solar cells.

Twin Creeks Technologies in San Jose has created a machine that uses high-energy protons to carve silicon wafers into thin layers, each of which can then be fashioned into a solar cell.

The layers are about one-tenth as thick as the standard silicon solar cell but generate just as much electricity. The same amount of raw silicon, therefore, can yield far more cells, making each one less expensive to produce.

Founded in 2008, Twin Creeks exits stealth mode today with $93 million in venture capital, a unique product and a focused business plan.
Other articles cite cost to produce as low as 40 cents a Watt - compared to the sale price of about double this from Chinese vendors. If the numbers work out, this is a challenge to thin film solar - not to mention coal fired plants.

No comments: