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NEXWAFE (Kerfless wafering by high throughput epitaxy)


NEXWAFE (Kerfless wafering by high throughput epitaxy)
PROBLEM
Traditional crystalline silicon manufacturing proccess has limited cost reduction potential . Today silicon wafers are the single most expensive component of a PV module contributing 40% of the PV module cost. The technology has been optimized over decades and is fully scaled. The industry needs new approaches which on one hand offer significant cost reduction potential and at the same time open the door for high efficiency solar cell and thin wafer technologies to bring the levelized cost of electricity down and to open new markets for PV applications
SOLUTION
NexWafe replaces a lengthy process chain starting from chlorosilanes via polysilcon production, ingot pulling, cropping, bricking squaring and wafer sawint by only one key proces wihich provides high effieciency, low cost wafers, which are suitable for all types of solar cell and module production.
The team uses high-throughput chemical vapour-phase epitaxy technology, eliminating the usual five cost-intensive production process. All process steps are based on proprietary in-line processes and equipment instead of the traditional batch process. In-line processing is key to achieve high throughput and low cost which are needed in the PV industry. If we would use traditional batch reactors instead of our in-line deposition system we would need 750 commercially available epitaxy systesm to replace 1 of our deposition systems
CHALLENGES
The installation and retrofitting costs for existing manufacturers may be a barrier to wide adoption of the technology.
IMPACT
Nexwafe is a German company which aims to increase competitive advantages for solar energy. By replacing traditional manufacturing methods with high end process, including growing new layers on a re-usable Si seed wafer, NexWafe could both cut production costs and recycle used materials. We will revolutionize the conventional wafer production and make polysilicon production, ingot pulling and wire sawing obsolete. By doing so we can cut the cost of wafer production by half, reduce silicon losses by more than 90% and save 50% of the energy used to produce a wafer. Replacing todays wafer production by our technology would save 50.000.000 tons of CO2 emission per year

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