RED BANK, USA: Following the granting of its exclusive licensing agreement with National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Natcore Technology Inc. has entered a Cooperative Research & Development Agreement with NREL. Under the terms of the CRADA, Natcore and NREL would work together to reach two goals:
* Reduce solar cell costs by 2-3 percent, and;
* Increase solar panel energy output from 3 percent to 10 percent over the course of a day without the aid of a solar tracking mechanism.
These goals would be accomplished by combining Natcore's patented liquid phase deposition (LPD) technology with NREL's technologies for creating a black silicon antireflective layer integrated into high-efficiency solar cells. The feasibility of the combined technologies working together has already been demonstrated in an earlier Natcore/NREL effort that produced a cell with 16.5 percent efficiency.
NREL holds the world record for a cell made with black silicon at 18.6 percent, but they had to make it using a passivation technology that requires thermal oxidation. Natcore will replace that cumbersome step with its LPD oxide process. The combination of the two technologies could significantly exceed NREL's record cell efficiency.
Under the terms of the CRADA, the parties will spend $150,000 to reach the stated goals. That amount may be increased if both parties so agree. The initial CRADA has a duration of one year.
"Our technology will create a new American industry," says Natcore president and CEO, Chuck Provini. "We've been trying for two years to get financial support from the Department of Energy. This is a meaningful first step."
NREL is the US Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.