UK-based analyst Exawatt and Germany’s Nexwafe printed a white paper this week that takes an in depth have a look at the present state of PV manufacturing worldwide, and the way Nexwafe’s revolutionary wafer manufacturing tech would possibly match into it. They mentioned that if the potential of its Epiwafer might be realized, the PV business could but see “one other revolution in wafer manufacturing.”
A white paper printed this week by UK analysts Exawatt and Germany’s Nexwafe analyzes the present state of PV manufacturing. The research reveals alternatives and challenges for brand new applied sciences, notably Nexwafe’s revolutionary “Epiwafer” course of for the manufacturing of silicon wafers.
Nexwafe’s know-how does away with the polysilicon manufacturing and ingot pulling levels of manufacturing, changing them with a course of that grows wafers direct from silicon tetrachloride gasoline, or the trichlorosilane gasoline that’s at present used because the feedstock for polysilicon manufacturing. By slicing these heavy, industrial levels from the PV provide chain the method guarantees decrease manufacturing prices, decrease tools capex and decreased environmental impacts, in addition to probably higher high quality, thinner wafers capable of attain increased efficiencies as soon as processed into cells.
The white paper, which is offered for obtain from Nexwafe’s web site, seeks to put this know-how throughout the context of at present’s PV manufacturing panorama and consider its potential. Nexwafe is presently creating a 500MW demonstration line for its know-how in Germany, and final 12 months picked up €39 million ($42.5 million) in an funding spherical led by India’s Reliance Industries. Regardless of these successes, the know-how nonetheless has a strategy to go to show itself at scale.
Exawatt finds vital alternative for this new know-how to play off of different developments in PV manufacturing. And it is ready to produce wafers at any dimension, avoiding reported challenges in ingot pulling for the most important 210 mm format.
The method additionally permits for wafers to be made a lot thinner than the present ingot/diamond wire noticed processing permits. Nexwafe CEO Davor Sutija just lately informed pv journal that the corporate would more than likely produce its first wafers at 120 microns, and that it might go a lot thinner than this in a while, if producers are capable of enhance dealing with of the thinner, extra fragile merchandise in different levels. Exawatt notes that this may provide a bonus or heterojunction cells particularly, the place the optimum thickness is 100 microns and even much less, whereas PERC and TOPCon buildings work finest on a cell between 150 and 200 microns, as might be achieved utilizing the present processes.
Nexwafe’s course of additionally guarantees decrease oxygen content material and even dopant distribution – including as much as as a lot as 1.1% absolute effectivity acquire, in addition to opening up additional potentialities. “In the long term, the excessive degree of course of management afforded by the EpiWafer course of might permit for extra methods to be employed to proceed pushing cell efficiencies increased, for examplethough the incorporation of quantum wells,” states Exawatt.
The latest push for vitality safety and localized PV provide chains additionally creates a possibility for areas exterior of China to supply a differentiated manufacturing, quite than attempting to compete on scale with established business giants. Exawatt notes that Nexwafe has signed letters of intent with a number of of the important thing gamers trying to set up PV manufacturing exterior of China, alongside the funding from Reliance in India.
The most important stays the scaleup from “lab to fab,” with Exawatt warning that the preliminary 500MW facility in Germany is not going to be value aggressive with present wafer costs, although this mannequin begins to enhance as soon as Nexwafe reaches bigger capacities of 3GW after which 6GW.
“From a monetary perspective, the important thing problem might be to efficiently scale up and bridge the hole from lab-scale manufacturing to excessive quantity. From a technical perspective, it is going to be key to display that the theoretical will increase in cell efficiencies afforded by EpiWafers might be realized in observe in cell manufacturing,” the report concludes. If that potential might be realized, the PV business could but see one other revolution in wafer manufacturing.”
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