Picosun to help grow nanorods for better solar cells

February 9, 2009″ Picosun Oy, a Finnish manufacturer of atomic layer deposition (ALD) systems, is taking part in a European Union funded project aimed at dramatically increasing the efficiency of solar cells, the company announced in a news release.

The project, named ROD-SOL (short for Rods for Novel Solar Cells) endeavors to create new, more cost effective nanomaterials for solar cells. The European Union has allocated about $3.7 million from its 7th European Research Program for the $5.2 million budget of ROD-SOL.

“Picosun is extremely proud to be one of only four industrial partners in this enormously important project,” Juhana Kostamo, Picosun’s managing director, said in a news release. “Thin films are going to be the key for success in this project.”

According to Silke Christiansen, the coordinator of ROD-SOL from the Institute of Photonic Technology in Germany, one of seven science partners of the project, the optimization of the growth of silicon nanorods on inexpensive substrates, such as glass or synthetic foil for future thin film solar cells is one of the goals of the project. These nanorods are expected to serve as ideal light traps to capture the energy of light for transformation into electricity.

In order to cover current world-wide requirements of electric power with photovoltaics, a square having 380 km sides would be sufficient. This corresponds to the surface area of countries like Tajikistan, Bangladesh or Nepal, or less than half of the surface area of countries like Italy, the Philippines or Finland.

“The more effective solar cells are is the make and break of the future potential use of photovoltaics. ROD-SOL aims at raising the efficiency of solar cells by more than half from their current capacity,” said Kostamo in the news release. “The urgency to find sustainable new ways to generate energy is obvious to us all.”

Science partners of the project are from Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, and USA. Industrial partners are from Finland, Germany and Slovenia. Dr. Henning Wicht, a leading expert in solar energy, working as a Senior Director and Principal Analyst, Photovoltaics and MEMS Research at iSuppli Corp, is one of the key persons bringing an extra insight to the rapid development of the solar cell technology and solar energy market during the course of the project.


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