Low Cost Solar Printing Process Garners Additional Honor from "Oscars of Invention"
October 23, 2008
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar thin film manufacturer HelioVolt Corporation and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were awarded the Editor's Choice Award for Most Revolutionary Technology from R&D Magazine at a gala award event held in Chicago last week. The Editor's Choice honor was bestowed in addition to a previously announced R&D 100 Award, both garnered for the organizations' joint achievements in developing a simpler, faster end-to-end process for printing high quality thin film photovoltaic (PV) systems. Pairing NREL's ink jet deposition technique with HelioVolt's FASST® printing process, the manufacturing advancements are designed to lower the cost of generating clean electricity from the sun.
"These lower cost paths to high quality photovoltaic products enable a fundamental shift in our electricity mix from traditional, polluting sources to renewable energy harnessed from the sun. I am proud that our collaborative work with NREL was highlighted by the R&D editors, not only for the innovative nature of the research but also its very real commercial and environmental potential," said Dr. Louay Eldada, HelioVolt's chief technical officer.
"Over the last three decades, researchers and others have envisioned a time when we might be able to do something as simple, fast, and inexpensive as constructing our houses and buildings with PV-coated materials to provide the electricity the buildings would need," said R&D editor in chief Martha Walz. "That vision will soon be a reality thanks to this low cost solar printing process developed by HelioVolt and NREL."
"Thin film PV technology is already impacting the energy industry by significantly lowering the cost of generating electricity from the sun with the use of less materials, " said NREL Director Dan Arvizu. "Public and private sector collaboration speeds up the time it takes to move these new technologies into the marketplace and we are pleased to share this national recognition with HelioVolt."
HelioVolt's FASST reactive transfer printing process drives cost advantages by manufacturing high-quality CIGS thin film products ten to one hundred times more rapidly than competitive methods. FASST can be combined with vacuum evaporation, ultrasonic spray, or ink-jet printing deposition processes like the one developed by NREL, allowing for industry-leading flexibility to achieve the lowest cost process. Confirmed through independent testing, FASST delivers solar cells exceeding 12 percent conversion efficiency in a record setting six minutes. These efficiencies place HelioVolt's CIGS devices among the highest performing solar thin film products on the market today. HelioVolt is using FASST to develop both conventional modules and next-generation building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) products for the global solar energy market. HelioVolt will employ FASST for commercial production for the first time at a factory set to open later this week in Austin, Texas.
HelioVolt Corporation was founded in 2001 in order to develop and market new technology for applying thin-film photovoltaic coatings to conventional construction materials. The company's proprietary FASST® process, based on semiconductor printing, was invented by HelioVolt founder Dr. Billy J. Stanbery, an eminent expert within the international PV community in the materials science of CIGS and related compound semiconductors. FASST® is a low-cost, flexible manufacturing process for CIGS synthesis and is protected by both fifteen issued US and foreign national patents and by numerous additional global patents pending. For additional information, visit www.heliovolt.com.
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