HelioVolt and NREL Extend CRADA to Commercialize Solar Nanotechnology; Collaboration Will Develop Non-Vacuum Deposition Processes Optimized for HelioVolt's Award-Winning FASST(TM) Manufacturing Process for CIGS Thin-Film Photovoltaics
HelioVolt is enabling new paths to solar energy marketability by building on its knowledge of the unique characteristics of the Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) material system. As described most accurately so far in a model published by Dr. B.J. Stanbery, HelioVolt's founder, when made under the proper conditions CIGS spontaneously arranges itself at the nanoscale to create a percolation network that drastically reduces losses, making the material the most efficient and reliable thin-film for photovoltaics. By taking maximum advantage of this, HelioVolt's flexible FASST (TM) process can be used under both vacuum and atmospheric conditions to print photovoltaic material directly onto traditional construction materials including architectural glass, steel, roofing and polymers in 80 to 98 percent less time than conventional processes. Under the terms of the CRADA, HelioVolt will work with NREL to optimize both conventional vacuum and pioneering non-vacuum deposition processes for FASST (TM) manufacturing environments.
“NREL's expertise in preparing nanotechnology precursors is the ideal complement to our own highly-efficient process for converting those nanoscale building blocks into finished CIGS thin-film material under both vacuum and atmospheric conditions.”
"Our collaborative efforts with NREL over the years have formed the groundwork for a viable new solar paradigm: large scale production of building materials that are durable, versatile, visually appealing and capable of economically harvesting energy from the sun," said HelioVolt president and founder, Dr. B.J. Stanbery. "NREL's expertise in preparing nanotechnology precursors is the ideal complement to our own highly-efficient process for converting those nanoscale building blocks into finished CIGS thin-film material under both vacuum and atmospheric conditions."
"As the Department of Energy's laboratory for advancing renewable energy, NREL is committed to growing the value and accessibility of solar technology for the mainstream electricity market," said John Benner, Electronic Materials Group Manager at NREL's National Center for Photovoltaics. "Our initial collaboration with HelioVolt indicates that FASST (TM) enables improved manufacturing time and process flexibility, and our extended CRADA will help drive those promising results forward to commercial production."
Many steps in conventional thin-film production require vacuum deposition, a process by which the thin-film material is coated onto the substrate in a very low-pressure vacuum chamber. Vacuum deposition processes can be capital intensive and depositing CIGS films in particular on large areas with the precision necessary to achieve both high performance and low manufacturing costs can be very difficult without the advantages of the FASST (TM) process. Non-vacuum or atmospheric deposition processes offer a combination of lower costs, process simplicity and reduced manufacturing times while still resulting in high-quality films when used with the HelioVolt's FASST (TM) manufacturing process which is flexible and highly controllable and thus capable of being optimized to produce high-quality thin-film through both atmospheric and vacuum techniques.
HelioVolt Corporation was founded in 2001 in order to develop and market new technology for applying thin-film photovoltaic coatings to conventional construction materials. The company's proprietary FASST (TM) process, based on semiconductor printing, was invented by HelioVolt founder Dr. Billy J. Stanbery, an eminent expert within the international PV community in the materials science of CIGS and related compound semiconductors. FASST (TM) is a low-cost, flexible manufacturing process for CIGS synthesis and is protected by both eight issued US patents and by global patents pending. For additional information, visit www.heliovolt.com.