IMR Collaborates on Three New OTF Photovoltaics Programs

ORISadmin Awards, External Grants, Facilities, Proposals

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission announced $14 million in new funding of advanced energy sector awards last week, and we are excited to report that The Ohio State University Institute for Materials Research is a central collaborator on three of the five Photovoltaics Program Awards for fiscal year 2011. 

GreenField Solar Corporation in Oberlin, Ohio will use its $1 million award to support its program titled Low Cost Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Design, with the goal of lowering the cost of its high-concentration PV system and obtaining UL certification. As part of the collaboration, metals deposition capabilities at OSU Nanotech West will be used to examine cost-reduction and manufacturing improvements in the metallizations used in the GreenField Photovolt® vertical multi-junction silicon PV device that resulted from technology developed at the NASA Glenn Research Center. The team also includes the Edison Materials Technology Center (EMTEC) of Dayton. The Principal Investigator of the Ohio State portion of the work is IMR Associate Director Bob Davis.

Energy Focus, Inc. in Solon, Ohio will receive $1 million to support its project, High Efficiency Photovoltaic Enabled Off-Grid System. The goal of this program is to develop and manufacture a standalone outdoor lighting product powered by an integrated low concentration photovoltaic system. Low-cost concentrator fabrication and supporting design structures will be created by team member Replex Plastics (Mt. Vernon OH).  The solar technology is based on an integrated compound semiconductor-on-silicon PV approach to enable low-cost, silicon-based high performance multijunction solar cells developed by Professor Steve Ringel’s group in ECE at OSU, with partial support by the PVIC Wright Center.  The primary OSU effort will transition this PV technology to an industry-compatible materials platform based on the new MOCVD (metalorganic chemical vapor deposition) facility at Nanotech West in collaboration with ECE’s Semiconductor Epitaxy and Analysis Lab (SEAL). The Principal Investigators of the Ohio State effort are IMR Research Scientist John Carlin, and ECE Professor and IMR Director Steve Ringel.

Process Technology of Mentor, Ohio was awarded over $350,000 for its project Commercialization of Inline Heater for Use in Photovoltaic Solar Cell Manufacturing, a collaboration with Cleveland State University and the OSU Nanotech West Lab. The project will design and market an ultrapure, low cost, intrinsically safe, inline chemical/water heater utilizing positive temperature coefficient (PTC) heating elements. As part of the development, Process Technology will install one of the new heater units at Nanotech West and demonstrate its reliability and utility in PV processing. Dr. Bob Davis will be leading the Ohio State demonstration effort.

All three of these new programs were enabled by OSU’s founding role in the Ohio Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization (PVIC), which funded staff and equipment at the Nanotech West Lab and other locations at Ohio State. For more information on the awards recently made by the Ohio Third Frontier program, see the Ohio Department of Development News Release: