ECN cleaning process advances solar cell manufacturing technology

August 7, 2007 — PHILLIPSBURG, NJ — Mallinckrodt Baker, Inc. and the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) today announced a new processing step in crystalline solar cell manufacturing that provides a 2 percent relative increase in solar cell efficiency. Cells manufactured using this new processing step generate more electricity, increasing their value for use in solar panels and arrays. The selection of Mallinckrodt Baker’s silicon surface preparation and cleaning chemistry by ECN, a recognized leader in the development of solar cell manufacturing processes, for the ECN-CLEAN process demonstrates Mallinckrodt Baker’s strong support of solar cell manufacturing and further enhances its position as a valued supplier to the rapidly growing photovoltaic (PV) market.

“Governments throughout the world are placing greater emphasis on alternative energy sources such as photovoltaics. One of the challenges is developing and manufacturing solar cells that provide lower costs of energy,” says Paul Wyers, manager of the solar energy department of ECN. “The development of our ECN-clean process with Mallinckrodt Baker is one step toward achieving this goal.”

Driven by global warming concerns and the desire to reduce dependence on increasingly scarce and volatile sources of oil and other fossil fuels, there is significant interest in utilizing renewable energy sources as a means of meeting the rising electrical energy demands of modern industrial economies. One of the leading renewable energy candidates is solar energy, specifically electricity generated directly from sunlight by photovoltaic cells. Recent estimates published by SEMI project the global solar photovoltaic market at more than $7 billion today, growing to more than $16 billion in 2012.*

“The combination of the ECN-clean process and our Mallinckrodt Baker chemistry addresses solar cell manufacturers’ goals of increasing energy output for solar cells,” says Peter de Groot, managing director for Mallinckrodt Baker’s European headquarters. “Our work with ECN in developing this cleaning process demonstrates our commitment, as a leading provider of cleaning chemistries, to help fabs realize increased yields and a strong return on investment.”

Process engineers have demonstrated the ECN-clean process, utilizing a wet bench cleaning step after standard glass removal with hydrofluoric acid. This additional step increases solar cell energy conversion efficiency from 15 percent to 15.3 percent in absolute terms and is equivalent to a two percent increase in relative terms. This increase provides a competitive advantage in a marketplace where even slight efficiency improvements enhance a solar cell’s electrical energy output and augment its commercial value.

Customers interested in additional information about surface preparation and cleaning chemistries for the photovoltaic industry may contact Mallinckrodt Baker at 1-800-582-2537 or [email protected]

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About Mallinckrodt Baker, Inc.
Mallinckrodt Baker, Inc. is a manufacturer of high purity chemicals and related products and services sold under two well-known and respected brand names — J.T.Baker(R) and Mallinckrodt(R) Laboratory Chemicals. These products are widely used in research and quality control laboratories, microelectronics, environmental testing laboratories and universities, and for manufacturing in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other industrial markets. Based in Phillipsburg, NJ, Mallinckrodt Baker, Inc., is part of Covidien, formerly Tyco Healthcare.

About Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands
The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (“ECN”) is the largest research centre in the field of energy in the Netherlands. ECN develops energy technology and brings this to market. ECN Solar Energy employs 70 scientists and engineers that develop new PV materials and processing technologies, as well as new solar cell and module designs. These are actively transferred to industry and implemented on pilot and production scale. ECN’s extensive facilities are well suited to study all R&D issues currently relevant for the PV industry.


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