Fraunhofer ISE solar cell manufacturing spin-off could reduce silver content


From pv magazine Germany.

The Highline Technology GmbH business which is the latest entity spun out of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) wants to bring a solar cell production method which has been under development for a decade into mass production.

The Highline approach is a dispensing process for the metallization of crystalline solar cells in which the metal contacts are applied to the front of the solar cell without touching it. The method is an alternative to the conventional screen printing process.

Fraunhofer ISE today said the technique can easily be integrated into conventional solar cell production lines and can reduce silver consumption by a fifth. With the Highline method involving thinner contacts and making more semiconductor surface available to sunlight, cells manufactured using the approach will be 1% more efficient than those made with the conventional technique, according to the company's researchers.

The contactless printing process reduces the reject rate for thinner wafers, said Highline, and offers higher production output than screen printing plus optimization of further processes in solar cell manufacturing.

The start-up has had financial support from the EXIST research program run by Germany's Federal Ministry of Economics as well as from the Fraunhofer Technologie-Transferfond Fonds GmbH, which backs companies spun out of the research institute.

The new company said it intends to continue working closely with the institute which fostered its research. “We want to bring the highly efficient parallel dispensing technology developed at Fraunhofer ISE onto the market,” said Highline Technology MD and co-founder Maximilian Pospischil. He added: “Our dispensing technology is also interesting for other industrial production processes beyond the PV industry. We accompany the companies from the plant construction to the process integration up to the application.”

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