Japan firm says coating improves solar cell efficiency

Jan. 8, 2008 – Sustainable Titania Technology says its new chemical solution for coating solar cells creates nanoscale irregularities on the substrate surface and improves their ability to convert sunlight by twice the improvement than similar procedures, according to a report in the Nikkei Business Daily.

The firm’s chemical solution is coated on a glass substrate (100-300nm thick) and then heated in a furnace, where “simple sugars” release small amounts of CO2. The resulting film forms on the glass with surface irregularities ~10-20nm in height and width, the paper notes.

The processed film with such irregularities improves the solar cell’s ability to convert sunlight by 3-5 percentage points vs. untreated cells (typically ~90% conversion), better than the 1-2 points typical of other surface-irregularity methods, according to the company. Moreover, its film coating has a static charge that repels dirt from collecting in the surface grooves, which would further impede efficiency.

Sales of the company’s chemical solution are expected to start this month at ¥30,000/liter (US $275), with an annual sales target of ¥200M (~$1.8M) by mid-2009.


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