While the story of mainstream solar technology continues to progress along a path of standardized processes, investments in technologies with the potential to achieve a step change continue. The latest investment in support of this is a 6 million round raised to develop NexWafe’s EpiWafer technology.
NexWafe, a Fraunhofer ISE spinoff, is progressing its chlorosilane PV wafer production process, which could potentially deliver significant advantages over conventional crystalline silicon solar wafer production.
Our unique technology enables us to fabricate monocrystalline wafers directly from chlorosilane with an extremely low energy and material usage," said NexWafe CEO Stefan Reber, in a statement. "In a first phase NexWafe will fabricate in its technical center EpiWafers for highly efficient solar cells to be fully qualified with selected partners from solar cell and module manufacturing. Reber is the former head of department Crystalline Silicon Materials and Thin Film Solar Cells at Fraunhofer ISE.
NexWafe’s technology involves an atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APVCD) process, at 1,300C, for the production of PV wafers. In January 2015, NexWafe reported that it intends to establish a 250 MW line using its technology, with production targeted to commence in 2017.
NexWafe is not the only company pursuing kerfless wafer production in the PV sector. 1366 Tech, from the U.S., has already formed an R&D partnership with Hanwha Q Cells and is operating 5 MW pilot line, with plans for a 250 MW line in New York State set to commence production this year. Hanwha Q Cell has produced a 19.1% monocrystalline cell using 1366 Tech’s wafers.