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Solar Power Breakthrough – Cheap Solar Panels Made With Ion Cannon

March 20th, 2012 · No Comments

Solar Power breakthrough cheap Solar panels made with ion cannon. Using a particle accelerator — an ion cannon that they have internally developed and called the Hyperion

Flexible solar cells made with Hyperion ion cannon

Twin Creeks Technologies, headquartered in Silicon Valley, California has announced a breakthrough that would “usher in a new generation of manufacturing” solar devices. Using a particle accelerator — an ion cannon that they have internally developed and called the Hyperion — the company hopes to revolutionize the solar industry by manufacturing silicon photovoltaic cells that are significantly cheaper than than anything that’s available in the market today.

Up to this point, solar panels are still relatively expensive per watt of electricity produced compared to traditional fossil fuel-based methods like coal and oil. Efforts to bring down the cost of PV cells have focused on developing alternative materials but crystalline silicon still remains to be the most efficient material for solar cells. Twin Creeks’ ion cannon system will produce very thin wafers of crystalline silicon without the wastage of silicon material associated with traditional cutting of these cells.

The thickness of the wafer doesn’t affect the energy generation efficiency and ultra-thin wafers will work just as well. Twin Creeks’ ion cannon technology is able to produce 20 micrometers-thick crystalline silicon wafers called ‘lamina.’ In contrast, currently available silicon cells are ten times thicker at 200 micrometers.

Twin Creeks Technologies' Hyperion ion cannon

The manufacturing process begins with the ion cannon bombarding 3 millimeter thick silicon wafers with hydrogen ions that accumulate 20 micrometers from the surface of each wafer. After this treatment, the wafers are then placed in a furnace and subjected to extreme heat. The ions under the surface expand into hydrogen gas and forces the upper layer to shear off from the silicon surface producing a 20 micrometers-thick new wafer called ‘lamina.’ These wafers are then attached to a metal backing which make them more flexible and less fragile.

If the projections are correct, this new innovation could indeed be the breakthrough, the actual tipping point for the solar industry. Twin Creeks claims that its Hyperion ion cannon system can produce silicon solar cells for under 40 cents per watt and has the capacity to produce 1.5 million wafers – enough for 6 megawatts of solar cells – per year!

These are exciting times indeed for the solar power – renewable energy industry and I hope this will prove to be one important breakthrough in our quest to wean the world away from fossil-based energy sources. What do you think?

via ExtremeTech.com

Tags: Renewable Energy