Natcore Technology which has been devloping black silicon in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, recently discovered another marketable solar cell enhancement its technology could facilitate.
Natcore’s patented liquid phase deposition enables the creation of selective emitters, which have thicker doping under a solar cell’s front contacts to improve the electrical connections and lighter doping throughout the rest of the cell surface to reduce resistance.
Having diverse layers like that enhances solar cell efficiency.
A lot of companies and scientists have been working on developing the technology.
“But the only way anyone is really working on this is cutting through the material with lasers,” said Natcore CEO Chuck Provini. “And that’s not really working.”
It’s time-consuming and expensive.
New Jersey-based Natcore’s technology is perfect for the application, Provini said. And the company’s researchers have developed the application and are filing patents for it now.
“We ran the first selective emitter application last week,” Provini said. “And we’re hoping to have done our first selective emitter as early as (today).”
The road to commercialization for the selective emitter application could be a short one – shorter than the road for black silicon, Provini said.
“It’s quicker because it’s a little simpler,” he said.
Once Natcore perfects its process and can prove its concept, the company could be ready to start marketing its technology to solar cell manufacturers.
It should be a relatively easy sell because the way Natcore would package its technology, the application could replace an existing step that cell manufacturers have to do now anyway, Provini said.
He said the company should have more news about its selective emitter technology in coming weeks, but is also moving forward with its black silicon technology.
The first solar cell the company produced had a 1 percent efficiency, Provini said Natcore has gotten that above 14 percent.
“But now we’re just trying to build a better solar cell,” he said.
In reality, black silicon could be applied to any solar cell and increase its energy output without impacting its efficiency, which means a 20 percent efficient cell with black silicon will produce more electricity than a 20 percent efficient cell without it, which is the demonstration Natcore is working toward making.