1366 Technologies Achieves 19.9% Efficiency Using Direct Wafer® and Hanwha Q CELLS Q.ANTUM Cell Technologies
Silicon wafer manufacturer 1366 Technologies today announced a new performance record for its Direct Wafer® technology with the achievement of 19.9% cell efficiency through 1366’s ongoing technical partnership with Hanwha Q CELLS. The result, which was independently confirmed by the Fraunhofer ISE CalLab, clearly demonstrates the rapid efficiency gains that are possible with 1366’s kerfless, drop-in 156 mm multicrystalline wafers and Hanwha Q CELLS Q.ANTUM passivated emitter rear contact (PERC) cell process.
“Our efficiency is improving at a rate that’s nearly double that of the rest of the industry. Late last year, we exceeded the cell efficiency of the high-performance multi (HPM) reference group in a head-to-head comparison, and we continue to make progress. This latest milestone demonstrates the rapid gains still possible with our Direct Wafer process because our technology is not limited by the inherent weaknesses of ingot-based wafer manufacturing,” said Frank van Mierlo, CEO, 1366 Technologies.
1366’s technical roadmap now shows a clear path to cell efficiencies significantly higher than sawn HPM, making Direct Wafer products superior for both their cost and technical advantages. These higher efficiencies are possible because of the intrinsic benefits of 1366’s manufacturing process, which include:
A high-purity growth environment: Hot zone materials in the Direct Wafer process are much cleaner than slip cast crucibles and coatings used in directional-solidified ingots. Further, ingots are held near their melting point for more than one day allowing significant in-diffusion from the dirtier materials. With a wafer growth process that limits in-diffusion to just a few seconds and stable efficiency over growth periods greater than four weeks, 1366’s technology eliminates impurity build-ups that reduce wafer performance.
A better microstructure: The multicrystalline growth process is known for creating dislocation clusters in the ingot that dramatically impact wafer quality. Because the Direct Wafer process grows a wafer one at a time, under the same conditions, dislocation clusters are avoided to create a more uniform wafer with better passivation, boosting efficiency.
A doping gradient: The ability to modify dopant concentration between the front and back of a wafer creates a powerful tool – a doping gradient – that enables more efficient collection of electrons and a boost in efficiency. The feature is only possible using Direct Wafer technology – there is no cost-effective way to manipulate dopant concentration with standard sawn wafers (multi or mono).
1366 Technologies’ Direct Wafer Technology
1366 Technologies’ Direct Wafer process forms multicrystalline wafers directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multi-step, energy- and capital-intensive process. The result is a uniformly better wafer, created at one-half the cost. The technology also has the enormous benefit of being a “drop-in” replacement for the majority of the photovoltaics market, making it seamless for cell and panel manufacturers to readily adopt the technology without adding a single new piece of equipment.