US-based wafer manufacturer, 1366 Technologies (1366), and Hanwha Q CELLS jointly announced a new achievement for multi-si PERC cells’ conversion efficiency. By using 1366’s Direct Wafer® on Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM series technology, the two companies have improve the cells’ efficiency to 19.6%.
Q CELLS selected 1366 as its technological partner to create more efficient multi-si PERC cells. Both parties successfully increased the efficiency of Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM series cells to 19.1% in last November, a record that has been broken by a new achievement of 19.6% recently. The result was independently confirmed by the Fraunhofer ISE CalLab.
The record-achieving multi-si PERC cells combine 1366’s kerfless, drop-in 156mm multicrystalline wafers and Hanwha Q CELLS’ Q.ANTUM process. The wafers were produced with 1366’s current production furnaces in Bedford, MA and the cell fabrication was completed at Hanwha Q CELLS’ Center for Technology Innovation and Quality in Thalheim, Germany.
“These latest results demonstrate the further potential of the Direct Wafer and Q.ANTUM cell technologies that can break the technical limitations of conventional wafer and cell making processes,” said Kai Petter, Senior Manager, R&D Silicon of Hanwha Q CELLS.
1366 is heading for capacity ramp-up
1366 Technologies’ Direct Wafer® process forms multi-crystalline wafers directly from molten silicon instead of today’s multi-step, energy- and capital-intensive process. The result is a uniformly better wafer, created at one-half the cost. This technology also offers seamless wafer for cell and panel manufacturers to readily adopt the technology without adding a single new piece of equipment.
Hanwha Q CELLS announced that it has signed a five-year purchase agreement with 1366 Technologies for up to 700MW wafers, not very long after the two companies achieved the 19.1% result.
1366 has been building a new wafer plant in New York State, and the plant will have a 250MW nameplate wafer manufacturing capacity for its first phase. 1366 has received a fund of US$ 10 million from Hanwha Investment Corporation this May for the wafer plant, while the plant is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and then start supplying wafers to Hanwha Q CELLS.
Hanwha Group’s investment to 1366 marks a major step for 1366’s Direct Wafer® technology to go commercialized.
“This year we’ve been focused on mass production trials and, together with Hanwha Q CELLS, we’ve continued to push the performance limits of multicrystalline cells while dramatically reducing their costs,” said Frank van Mierlo. “The Direct Wafer process provides an ultra-low cost option to manufacturers to extend multicrystalline’s dominant market position. This latest technical achievement is an impressive demonstration of our wafers’ compatibility with new cell architectures that provide long-term differentiation.”
(Photo Source: 1366 Technologies’ Facebook page)