The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says Natcore Technology Inc. has been granted a patent license agreement to develop a line of black silicon products. Natcore and NREL also jointly conduct R&D to develop commercial prototypes based on NREL's black silicon inventions and patents.
The ‘Black Silicon Nanocatalytic Wet-Chemical Etch’ technology is the result of work by NREL PV researchers, who demonstrated that black silicon solar cells that have been chemically etched to appear black can better absorb the sun's energy.
The one-step method reduces light reflection from silicon wafers to less than 2%, according to NREL. The organization additionally estimates that its method can reduce processing costs by 4% to 8%, resulting in overall savings in solar cell manufacturing of 1% to 3%. Natcore says it intends to meet a number of cell-efficiency goals by August and to have products commercially available later in the year.