LONDON Dow Corning Corp. (Midland, Mich.), which specializes in silicon- and silicone-based technology, has signed a three-year contract with IMEC (Leuven, Belgium to perform joint research on crystalline silicon solar cells.
As part of the agreement Dow Corning has joined several program activities within IMEC's industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on silicon solar cells.
The R&D program concentrates on reducing the amount of silicon used, whilst at the same time increasing the efficiency of solar cells and thereby lowering the cost of solar energy.
Dow Corning can contribute its materials experience, such as a silicone encapsulant process for integrated cell and module processing. IMEC and Dow Corning plan to work on new solar cell structures that can work with novel silicone encapsulant processes with a goal of producing cost-effective modules with ultra-thin cells.
"By bringing together all the different players in the silicon solar cell value chain, ranging from energy companies, solar cell manufacturers to material and equipment suppliers, we can speed up the development of new processes which are tested on a semi-industrial pilot line. As such we accelerate the transfer to mass production," said Jef Poortmans, program director for IMEC Energy.
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