34. Creating Manufacturing Efficiencies
As manufacturer of photovoltaic cells a high-quality solution to existing trace metal contamination problems in cleaning chemistry and processes is required. There is currently no commercially viable methodology in the PV manufacturing segment addressing this contamination. Overly complicated process sequences, unbalanced processes using unnecessary amounts of chemicals, excess of dangerous and poisonous chemicals entering the waste abatement system, and reduction chemical and water consumption and waste generation through chemical usage reduction, recovery, recycle, reuse, and substitution are of high interest. In addition to trace metal removal, biodegradable, alcohol free texturing solutions are sought for the mono-silicon cell process. Multi-silicon, being 70-80% of our production has marginal texturing and cleaning processes. Viable solutions are required to increase performance, yield and efficiency.
Sunsonix has developed biocompatible and biodegradable chemicals which dramatically improve silicon photovoltaics efficiency. These are “drop-in” solutions which do not require any capital investment or dramatic changes to any established unit processes or device designs. In addition, Sunsonix provides process consulting within our offering that can lead to significant further savings in ancillary materials such as deionized water (DIW) usage; Motech calculated reductions of 6 million liters of DIW and 4200 liters of high purity HCl by using Sunsonix chemistries and recommended process improvements for each 100MW of capacity. Savings in water alone makes a huge impact on customers’ environmental impact.
Why it should be recognized:
Sunsonix has more than a dozen commercial validations providing anywhere from 0.05% to over 0.5% absolute efficiency improvements when implementing our first product. A second product, which reduces both contamination and surface light reflection reductions can add another 0.5% absolute improvement, e.g., taking a 16% efficiency cell to 17% efficiency if both systems are implemented. This equates to a $1M ROI improvement for every 100MW of customer production capacity, all accomplished with zero negative impact on the customer’s environmental footprint, and if process improvements are implemented on top of the Sunsonix chemistries, dramatic reductions in high purity water usage.
Sunsonix has fully mitigated all development risks associated directly with our chemical offerings. Further risk is secondary in nature and is manifested generally as introduced contamination or degradation by customer unit processes, e.g., metal heater assemblies, substrate drying using hot filament air drying, etc.
In entering new market segments, it is expected that Sunsonix will see further direct challenges, but those are at present not known.
Sunsonix continues to actively apply for global patent protection. There are potential alternatives to our patented chemistries, but they tend to have infinite environmental lifetimes or toxic decomposition by-products, or both. On the non-IP side, continued education of customers is key to overcoming “conventional wisdom” barriers.