Energy Materials Corporation (EMC), developer of high-speed roll-to-roll manufacturing of solar energy panels, recently announced that it has developed an enabling process to print transparent conductors as part of the scale-up of its inline manufacturing process.
Roll-to-roll printing of metal conductors on Corning Willow Glass (flexible glass) at 60 meters per minute reportedly sets a world speed record for printing flexible electronics on glass. The process surpasses the company's goal of achieving less than 5% loss in the transmission of light though the conductive layer.
"A key piece of our high-speed, low-cost model is to print all the layers of our solar module in one continuous inline process. Typical transparent conductors are manufactured using a high temperature, vacuum deposition process that is more than ten times too slow to be integrated into our high-speed inline system," stated Dr. Tom Tombs, EMC CTO. "Our ability to print fine metal lines at 60 meters per minute is a critical element that allows us to eliminate the high-cost of transparent conductors, such as ITO, currently used in solar cells."
"This combination of product performance at high process speed illustrates the benefit of using high-resolution flexography for additive manufacturing. This is an example of Kodak's commitment to helping partners develop revolutionary products with our unique EKTAFLEX functional printing platform, manufacturing infrastructure and technical expertise," stated Dr. Terry Taber, CTO, Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company, and Sr. Vice President of Advanced Materials & Chemicals.
"Corning Willow Glass brings together the benefit of glass substrate for electronic devices and the capability of low cost, high throughput roll-to-roll processing, enabling the production of this low cost perovskite PV product envisioned by EMC," stated Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, Division Vice President, Corning Incorporated.
Dr. Stephan DeLuca, EMC's CEO stated, "This milestone demonstrates the power of our rapid-pace manufacturing development model; the combination of materials and process knowledge of our exclusive joint development partners, Corning and Kodak, allows EMC to accelerate bringing high performance, low-cost perovskite modules to market."
EMC's work with high-speed, transparent conductor layer printing is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO). SETO funds innovative cooperative research and development projects that drive down the cost of solar electricity and improve the performance of solar technologies that enhance grid reliability and security.