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Posted: March 9, 2010
XsunX Moves Closer to Commercializing Its Innovative Technology for the Replacement of Silicon Solar Cells
(Nanowerk News) XsunX, Inc., the developer of advanced, thin-film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar cell technologies and manufacturing processes, today announced the company has reached a significant milestone in its development process: the completion of a co-evaporation processing chamber design that combines several thermal evaporation techniques in one unified process to produce the CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) solar cell’s absorber layer.
“This development is crucial to both the equipment and process technology side of our efforts,” said Tom Djokovich, CEO of XsunX, Inc. “The completion of this chamber converges several operations that we have been developing separately, allowing all of the processes necessary to produce the CIGS layer for our cross-industry technology to work in unison. This development increases the rate with which we can develop this new technology towards our initial baseline commercialization goals. This is a fundamental next step in our plan to commercialize our hybrid CIGS manufacturing process, and deliver a potential replacement solution for the use of silicon.”
The hybrid cross-industry system XsunX is developing is an integrated delivery method that uses proven material handling and automation technologies from the Hard Disk equipment (HD) industry and adapts them to small-area thin-film photovoltaic (TFPV) co-evaporation processes to configure the absorber layer, or solar power conversion portion of the cell, to produce low cost solar cells. The chamber will process 125 mm x 125 mm production-sized substrates that the company anticipates will be replicated as the key component of a full commercial production toolset, after additional testing of the chamber itself.
“This integration of numerous processing technologies into a single chamber design will allow us to begin testing the value of hard disk material handling and systems management technologies,” said XsunX’s CTO Robert Wendt. “From the start, we envisioned this chamber as the key to our ability to viably produce commercial quantities of CIGS solar cells using small-area processing techniques.”
Mr. Wendt further added, “We believe that a key component to our success lies in our use of the co-evaporation process on individual small-area substrates, or wafers similar in size to silicon wafers, to produce the solar absorbing portion of the solar cell.”
Co-evaporation has been at the forefront of technology development efforts at institutes worldwide such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) here in the USA, and other renowned agencies including the Institute of Energy Conversion/University of Delaware and Stuttgart in Germany. Each of these agencies has achieved world class efficiency conversion capability utilizing co-evaporation techniques.
Chamber completion is the result of experimentation and design modifications to both equipment and process technology, and in addition to being the foundation on which XsunX will continue to build its technology, also serves as a distinguishing advancement in the company’s intellectual capital portfolio. “From the beginning, we envisioned the completion of the chamber design, and its co-evaporation system, as a differentiating feat of the scientific team—a demonstration of their engineering and development prowess,” noted Djokovich.
XsunX specializes in the development and commercialization of advanced, thin-film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar cell technologies and manufacturing processes. We are currently working to develop new proprietary manufacturing systems to deliver low cost solar products based on the use of CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) solar thin-films. Utilizing cross-industry enabling technologies, these systems are being developed to deliver low cost and high yield front end CIGS solar cell manufacturing methods coupled with customized backend solar module assembly and packaging systems.
This CIGS production technology is being designed as a turn-key solution to either enable upgrades to existing infrastructure or to establish new large scale solar manufacturing capacity for the production of CIGS solar cells that can be utilized in a multitude of applications. We plan to offer joint venture manufacturing opportunities for this technology to regional partners in a number of industry types and solar applications.