Air Products (NYSE:APD) has been selected to receive more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under DOE’s Solar Energy Technology Program. Air Products will use its expertise in etch and deposition science, gained from more than 35 years’ experience in the global electronics industry, to develop materials that could potentially result in significant cost savings for thin-film photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers.
The objective of the DOE program is to identify and accelerate the development of PV processes expected to improve the domestic solar market. Air Products’ main focus will be on developing and validating an advanced radio frequency plasma chemical vapor deposition process. The project is among 24 new solar energy technology projects receiving $22 million in DOE funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
“Once developed and commercialized, these materials could be used by thin-film PV manufacturers, whose production is expected to exceed 5 GW in the coming years,” said Jeff Handelman, Air Products’ general manager, photovoltaics. “If 5 GW worth of thin-film silicon manufacturing were to adopt these additives and save more than $0.10 per watt, it would save the PV industry about $600 million annually.”