The production of Si plays a major role in determining the cost and energy balance of a solar power plant.
Almost 50% of the energy invested in a Si-based solar module is used for Si purification and processing. Most companies use the rather costly and energy demanding Siemens process when producing high purity Si. In strong contrast, Norwegian companies and research groups have shown substantial creativity and led the development of less energy demanding production processes. The Centre partners Dynatec and Elkem Solar both attract much international attention because of this. WP1 forms a basis for the development of even more energy- and cost-effective Si production processes and is an important fundament for subsequent industrial R&D with current and future companies.
WP1 will focus on two distinct routes which both have a substantial advantage compared to established industrial processes. In combination with the broader Centre research, WP1 will also uniquely allow for an in-depth comparison of the performance of Si materials from different production technologies with regards to their behavior, efficiency potential and energy balance during further processing into solar cells and modules. Much effort will be devoted to dissemination from this WP. In spite of many demonstrations of the benefits of alternative Si materials, the industry remains conservative in its selection of feedstock. If this attitude is changed, a strong market position of sustainable Si is anticipated.
Work package manager:
Jafar Safarian (NTNU)
Contact information: jafar.safarian[at]ntnu.no