In this message, I’ll bring you up to date on our technology improvements, our search for potential partners and our Best-of-Breed power plant opportunities.
Remember our mantra: increase the efficiency, lower the cost.
We are making progress with improved efficiencies in our laboratory by focusing most of our research efforts on monocrystalline silicon wafers because of their greater efficiency potential. (In fact, the solar industry is now quickly moving to monocrystalline for that reason.)
And we continue to simplify our process. That translates directly to reducing cost at competitive or improved efficiencies in the market.
One of the areas of improvement is our scientists have identified better light wavelengths for our laser process. As an example, infrared light, which cannot be seen by humans, is traditionally used in the laser process. Our scientists have found that this infrared light is only weakly absorbed by silicon, which limits the ability to precisely tailor laser pulses. As a result, they have created a new set of optical components that convert light to green, which is absorbed 100 times more effectively by the silicon. These optics allow us to use whichever wavelengths are needed and help push our progress further along.
Additionally, we are continually simplifying the process used to produce our aluminum foil bi-layer cells. We recently have demonstrated that by slight modifications of the composition of an important conductive layer, we eliminate a sequence of patterning steps that we have been using up until now. This simplification has a direct correlation to reducing costs.
The improvement in the foil bi-layer cells has added another dimension to our search for a partner whose scale and resources can help us reach the ultra-high-efficiency potential that our cells are capable of.
Until now, we’d been limiting our quest to cell manufacturers and other companies in the solar industry. But our advances with the Natcore Foil Cell™ makes us attractive to aluminum foil manufacturers who want to expand into new, high-margin markets.
By giving the rights to produce our proprietary foil to an aluminum company partner, we would also be giving them the opportunity to gain access to the solar industry. Included in our package would be some type of exclusivity in providing this unique foil in conjunction with license agreements to cell manufacturers. We believe that it is a much simpler sell to the aluminum companies at this stage of our development.
Best of breed
I continue to believe that our first important revenue will come from our Best of Breed program, which continues to capture the interest of major international projects. Recently I was hosted by the developers of the Belize project. I met all the partners and viewed the site for the proposed power facility, which is adjacent to the international airport that they are currently building. The funding for the solar project is part of the airport funding. This airport is currently 60% completed.
We are also currently negotiating agreements with and hope to be chosen by a developer who is known very well to us to participate in a multi-faceted facility in a Middle Eastern country. We are at a similar level in negotiations with a Southeast Asian country. These latter two projects are each in excess of 500 MW. Each has contingent financing; one of them also has a sovereign government guarantee.
I hope this gives you some idea of the significance of our unique cell technology as well as our flexibility in identifying potential markets, whether they be obvious or outside the box.