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Honeywell Announces New Materials For Increased Efficiency Of Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Cells

Published on 2010-09-10. Author : SpecialChem

VALENCIA, Spain -- Honeywell announced a new line of electronic materials designed to enable manufacturers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells to boost their power output through use of advanced, high-efficiency cell designs.

The new materials include dielectrics and dopants, which are commonly used in high-volume semiconductor manufacturing. Honeywell Electronic Materials has been supplying electronic materials to the semiconductor industry for more than 40 years and is now applying that expertise to the photovoltaic industry.

"Honeywell continues to innovate to apply proven semiconductor technology and materials to the photovoltaic industry," said Dmitry Shashkov, business director of Honeywell Electronic Materials. "Honeywell's new dopant and dielectric materials help manufacturers of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells apply low-cost, high-throughput industrial manufacturing processes to new solar cell designs proven in R&D labs."

Solar cell efficiency is key for photovoltaic manufacturers. Increased efficiency means higher power output from the same size panel exposed to the same amount of light. Thus, it is a crucial driver of solar energy cost. Specifically, these new dopant and dielectric materials enable new technologies to be used for solar cell manufacturing, resulting in lower cost of producing each watt of electricity compared to the processes which are currently used.

Dopants are formulated chemicals that alter the electrical properties of silicon and can be applied to selectively change electrical properties of specific parts of solar cells. Dielectrics are formulated chemicals that act as electrical insulators, preventing the flow of electric current through certain areas of the PV cell. These dielectric materials have been designed to provide other benefits, such as acting as a passivation layer to prevent harmful recombination effects, a diffusion barrier to prevent unwanted diffusion of dopants into certain regions, and a masking material.

Honeywell has designed these new materials with extremely low impurity levels, as impurities can degrade PV cell quality. The c-Si cell structures that are enabled by new Honeywell materials include Selective Emitter, Rear-Side Passivation, Point Contact, and Boron Back-Surface Field (BSF) cells. In addition, Honeywell dopants will enable broad adoption of n-type Si substrates instead of currently dominant p-type Si, thus eliminating detrimental effects of light-induced degradation that is inherent to p-type Si. These new materials can be applied to Si wafers using inexpensive, high throughput methods such as screen printing and ink jet printing, methods that are well proven on the industrial scale in PV and other electronic manufacturing.

The development of these new materials for PV manufacturing was performed at Honeywell's state-of-the-art R&D facilities in Sunnyvale, Calif. and Shanghai, China. In addition, Honeywell has worked closely with research institutes, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and PV cell manufacturers worldwide to ensure that these materials are compatible with commercial-scale equipment and meet the process integration requirements of the overall PV manufacturing process.

In addition to these new materials, Honeywell Electronic Materials last year introduced SOLARC™ anti-reflective coatings for photovoltaic panels that improve the light transmittance through the glass that covers the panels, thus increasing the PV module efficiency and power output.

Honeywell made the announcement at the 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, the world's largest photovoltaic solar conference, which attracts solar industry leaders from around the world to discuss scientific and technological issues facing the industry.

About Honeywell:

Honeywell Specialty Materials is a global leader in providing customers with high-performance specialty materials, including fluorine products; specialty films and additives; advanced fibers and composites; intermediates; specialty chemicals; electronic materials and chemicals; and technologies and materials for petroleum refining.

Honeywell International is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges.

Source: Honeywell

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