Additional Machines Could Soon Enter Production
Red Bank, NJ – (August 9, 2011) -Natcore Technology Inc. (TSX-V: NXT; NTCXF.PK) has received delivery of its first intelligent processing station that uses an exclusive liquid phase deposition (LPD) process to grow antireflective (AR) coatings on silicon wafers. These wafers will be central components of solar cells.
Dubbed “AR-Box,” the SUV-sized tool is being installed in Natcore’s Research & Development Center at Kodak’s Eastman Business Park in Rochester, NY. Natcore’s President and CEO Chuck Provini, along with Mike Alt, the park’s Director, and David Tennity, Kodak Project Manager, met with local contractors on Thursday to solicit bids for electrical, plumbing, and ductwork that will be required to make AR-Box functional. Installation and testing are scheduled for completion by September 9.
AR-Box is a totally enclosed system that contains a pre-clean subsystem; an LPD process subsystem incorporating Natcore’s latest sizing and process control input; and a drying module. It has the ability to identify and eliminate unwanted invisible particles to assure uniformity, consistency, and a lack of contamination from suspended matter. It has a cooling and heating option that keeps the chemical bath within a range of 0.5 C.
AR-Box will also include a module that passivates the surface of “black silicon” solar cells. Passivation will reduce the cell’s average reflectivity to less than 1.5%, resulting in a significantly increased power output.
But perhaps the major feature of the device will be its ability to monitor the coating process throughout. Specifically, it will accurately measure the thickness of the AR coating on a wafer while it is submerged in a chemical bath, and can alter the composition and duration of the bath in order to produce cells with greater simplicity and a high degree of precision.
Natcore believes AR-Box will revolutionize the way solar cells are manufactured. Using its LPD process, AR-Box will replace the costly and hazardous chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method that is currently the industry standard. Cells produced in AR-Box will be less expensive and less environmentally harmful than conventional solar cells.
“AR-Box #1 will be used for our own R&D efforts,” says Provini. “It will allow us to craft precise formulas for each customer. That’s a necessity because solar cell production differs from plant to plant.”
“We have received strong interest from companies in China, Italy, and the U.S. that could lead to production of four additional machines,” Provini adds. “That would represent significant revenue for Natcore. We would profit from licensing fees, and from sales of the machines and the chemicals that will be used to recharge them. We hope to close at least two of these sales by the end of the year.”
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