Solar Cell Research Division Set Up in Kaneka Belgium
—Research consignment contract signed with a European research institute (IMEC)—
September 14, 2009
expanding Japanese, American, and European solar cell markets.
In addition, we have signed a research consignment contract in the field of silicon solar cells
with IMEC*, Kingdom of Belgium, known as a world-class research institute in the field of semiconductor processes centering on single-crystal silicon. It will serve as a base able to obtain the latest technologies from Europe and combine them with Kaneka’s technologies to
achieve the world’s highest level of conversion efficiency.
*Location: Kingdom of Belgium. CEO: Luc Van den hove
Kaneka aims to achieve the following research goals in setting up the research division at Kaneka Belgium, in addition to the thin-film silicon technology it has built up from its solar cell business.
(1) To open up new areas of technology and achieve even further increases in the efficiency of thin-film silicon solar cells by introducing IMEC’s optical control technology,
semiconductor process technology, and interface property control technology.
(2) To achieve the world’s highest level of efficiency in silicon solar cells (a greater than 20% conversion efficiency) by combining the thin crystal silicon solar cell process technology that IMEC possesses with Kaneka’s thin-film silicon fabrication technology,
Specifically, we set up a solar cell research division within IMEC this September, and began
joint research that will last for three years. The overall costs related to this are about 1.5 billion yen, including facilities investment costs, and we expect to create a ten-person team with researchers from both Kaneka and IMEC to form the research staff.
Kaneka has been carrying out mass production of solar cells using thin-film silicon hybrid technology with a conversion efficiency of 12% since April last year, and has achieved the world’s highest level of initial conversion efficiency (13.4% for a size of 910mm x 455mm) at the research level in single-junction and dual-junction (tandem) solar cells using micro-crystal silicon thin-films.