By Cameron Chai
Natcore Technology has signed a cooperative research & development agreement (CRADA) with National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), DOE’s major national lab for renewable energy and energy efficiency R&D. This alliance follows the recent licensing agreement signed by the two organizations.
The CRADA agreement will enable NREL and Natcore to jointly work to achieve two major objectives: one is to minimize the cost of solar cells by 2% to 3% and the other goal is to enhance energy output of solar panels from 3% to 10% without using a solar tracking mechanism. Both organizations will invest $150,000 to reach these goals.
The objectives can be achieved by integrating NREL's technologies with the patented liquid phase deposition (LPD) technology from Natcore. The combined technologies help to produce a black silicon antireflective layer, which is included into the high-efficiency solar cells. The combined technologies’ viability has already been confirmed in an earlier project of Natcore and NREL. The project resulted in a solar cell with16.5% efficiency.
NREL has a world record in developing a cell with black silicon at an efficiency of 18.6%. However, the organization required a passivation technology to achieve the record. Natcore’s LPD oxide process will help to replace this complex step. The union of the two technologies can considerably surpass the record cell efficiency of NREL.