Natcore unveils new solar research center in US' Rochester


In a statement released, Natcore says that the new, nearly US$1 million center will help to accelerate its research and development into applications based on its liquid phase deposition (LPD) technology. It adds that, currently, its most promising applications are for solar cells.

The company believes its work could reduce the cost of producing solar energy by 50 percent. "Super-efficient tandem cells, which would double the power output of today’s most efficient commercial solar cells; and black silicon solar cells, which would produce a significantly greater amount of energy (KwHrs) on a daily basis than will the industry’s standard solar cells," says the statement.

The center, which will initially be staffed by 10 to 12 people, has been equipped with a laboratory and clean room, a gowning room, administration offices and a warehouse. The company adds, "The centerpiece is AR-Box, Natcore’s intelligent LPD processing station for growing an antireflective (AR) coating on silicon wafers in the process of manufacturing solar cells. It will be the primary tool in the development and commercialization of Natcore’s new technologies. This SUV-sized device is a research version of the AR-Box production model, which will be fully automated and substantially larger."

Natcore says that it will continue its funded joint research program with the Barron Group at Rice, with any new applications developed being moved to the new Rochester facilities for development and commercialization. Meanwhile, the Columbus facility will be closed.

The company goes on to say that it is still keen to develop its flexible solar cell offerings. Chuck Provini, Natcore president and CEO, explains, "We’re still looking for a site and partners to develop and manufacture flexible solar cells and other applications. Eastman Business Park is being considered, as are overseas locations. Manufacturers from China, India and Italy sent delegations to visit us in February. Like Kodak, they all have extensive experience in manufacturing roll-to-roll photo film. The final decision in this case will rest on the availability of funding."

Today’s opening ceremony was attended by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, who cut the ribbon, Mike Alt, director of Eastman Business Park and Provini, in addition to area political leaders and members of the Rochester business and professional investment communities.