Crystallization Beyond 2020

Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs)

It is common knowledge that ceramics and graphite are hard and brittle. However, with fibre-reinforced ceramic composites, a ceramic material can withstand being dropped against the floor or even being nailed to a wall.

Unfortunately, these advanced ceramics has a limited use and applications due to  challenges related to oxidation of fibre/matrix boundary face.

Due to its relatively inert argon atmosphere, solar industry’s crystallization processes becomes the application that will open up the market for new developments of CMCs. By developing a new Silicon Carbide Fiber-Reinforced Silicon Nitride Matrix Composite (SiC/Si3N4), a Kera Solar project will introduce a new material that will outperform traditional graphite and advanced carbon/carbon fibre composites.

These materials will demonstrate higher toughness, non-catastrophic failure, better damage tolerance, non-oxidation, ultra low carbon atmosphere, reduced hot-zone mass and substantial improved lifetime and thereby reduced consumable cost.

DS Cast-Mono process

In a competitive Solar Industry, new technologies are introduced that could change the outcome of ongoing  technology war between Cz mono and DS multi process. During last years, “Cast-Mono” have demonstrated substantial improvements that could result in a change in market paradigm.

Especially for the new Cast- Mono process, Steuler Solar crucibles will give substantial improvements. This is mainly due to following  factors:

  1. The competition between Cz mono and DS multi process have never been a fair competition. This is due to the fact that only Cz have had access to high-purity  crystallization crucibles. Steuler Solar new generation crucibles have already confirmed same quality of wafers and solar cells as with ultra-pure electronic grade fused quartz. Also, since these crucibles are non-oxide, Cast-Mono have even the potential to outperform Cz mono due to elimination of LID defects.
  2. Since Steuler crucibles will give substantial lower metal impurity defects, the cost intensive technology change from p-type to n-type will probably no longer be needed. This change is mainly driven by factors of oxygen and metal impurity defects, both eliminated with Steuler crucibles.
  3. Steuler crucibles have 12 times higher heat-conductivity than quartz. This gives improvements when controlling crystallization and temperature gradients, especially important when avoiding sidewall crystal defects from Cast-Mono process.
  4. And naturally, with the re-usable properties, substantial cost reductions will follow.

New Technologies

The solar industry have during several years experienced a strong process development that have resulted in increased competiveness towards other energy sources. However, one fundamental factor have not changed since solar industry’s initial start; the access to high temperature consumables that are not having a negative impact on the fundamental property of solar cell efficiency.

With the introduction of high-purity Advanced Ceramics, Kera Solar have since 2006 given the solar industry the tools needed to develop new processes and technology improvements.


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