We have developed and patented the technology and the partners of the consortium now test the material for impurities and other critical properties to ensure that the resulting solar cells and panels are equal or better than the industry standard.
The objective is to develop versatile refining techniques that are able to produce quality feedstock from metallurgical silicon (primary silicon) and quartz but also for refining of scrap material (secondary silicon, such as ingot off cuts, broken wafers, dust, etc). In the crystallized silicon, impurities levels will be low enough to reach solar cells efficiencies higher than 16%.
Wafer based silicon solar cells have over 80% market share and this technology will dominate the market going forward. This partnership will help to realise the Paradigm shift scenario of SET for 2020 by:
- Further developing and optimising refining, purification and crystallisation of silicon crystals in an Aluminium-Silicon melt, as well as separation of silicon crystal processes for solar grade silicon feedstock using quartz, kerf, and/or MG-Si.
- Optimising associated ingot crystallization and cell and module processes.
- Transferring the technology from pilot to full scale industrial production.
This is a low temperature and low energy process. The competence and infrastructure available in Norway from the aluminium industry will be helpful in the industrialization of the process. The preliminary results show a huge potential of the process versus comparable processes.