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Posted: September 14, 2009
IMEC to house Kaneka's European Photovoltaics Lab advancing joint research
(Nanowerk News) IMEC, Europe’s leading nanoelectronics research center, and Kaneka Corporation, the Japanese leading manufacturer of chemical specialties and solar cells, have announced a bilateral cooperation. Under the agreement, Kaneka will incorporate its European Photovoltaics Laboratory at IMEC in Leuven, Belgium. Working in IMEC’s facilities and collaborating with IMEC’s experts, this will allow Kaneka to further improve its current thin-film solar cells and to develop next generation cells.
This agreement fits in the strategy of Kaneka to examine the expansion of its solar cell manufacturing capacity to 1 Giga Watt by 2015. The decision to establish a European lab was motivated by the need to have a presence, and in future also a production facility, close to the rapidly growing European PV market. “IMEC was chosen as the preferred R&D partner because of its longstanding expertise and excellent track-record in photovoltaics, and because of its unique knowledge and capabilities in materials processing and photonics;” says Kaneka Corporation’s President Kimikazu Sugawara.
Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of IMEC, states: “We are extremely happy that Kaneka chooses IMEC as its key partner for its new solar cell research. It emphasizes the prominent role of IMEC in the photovoltaics domain.”
Kaneka’s European Photovoltaics Laboratory will be the first R&D lab of a Japanese solar cell manufacturer outside of Japan. Under the agreement, a team of engineers of Kaneka and IMEC will install and operate Kaneka equipment in IMEC’s photovoltaics labs. Dr. Kenji Yamamoto, who will be managing the laboratory, says: “By closely collaborating with IMEC’s research team we will enhance Kaneka’s current thin-film solar cells and develop a new industrial hetero-junction solar cell technology.”
To enhance Kaneka’s amorphous silicon microcrystalline silicon (a-Si/uc-Si) solar cells, IMEC’s silicon wafer process and device technology and its expertise in optics, micromachining and photonics will be combined. The cooperation will result in a new industrial a-Si:H hetero-junction based high-efficiency solar cell technology, with an envisaged efficiency of beyond 20% for large cells in an industrial proces.
“This collaboration with Kaneka is an important research activity complementary to the silicon photovoltaics industrial affiliation research program running at IMEC;” added Dr. Jef Poortmans, IMEC’s Photovoltaics Program Director.
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,650 people include over 550 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, IMEC's revenue (P&L) was 270 million euro.
IMEC's More Moore research targets semiconductor scaling for the 22nm technology node and beyond. With its More than Moore research, IMEC invents technology for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics.
IMEC's research bridges the gap between the fundamental research at universities and R&D in the industry. It has unique processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and a strong and worldwide network position. This makes IMEC a key partner for shaping the technology of the future.
Kaneka Corporation was established as Kanegafuchi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. in 1949. It is headquartered in Osaka, Japan and employs about 7,300 people worldwide (including consolidated subsidiaries). Kaneka’s activities span a broad spectrum of markets ranging from photovoltaics, plastics, EPS resins, chemicals and foodstuffs to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, electrical and electronic materials and synthetic fibers. Kaneka has subsidiaries in Belgium, the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Australia and Vietnam.