Ferro Awarded $1M Grant for Solar Cell Research

Ohio Third Frontier Photovoltaic Program grant will fund development of advanced durability sealing systems for solar cells

Story content courtesy of Ferro Electronic Materials

In this project, Ferro will engineer a vitreous frit system to provide reliable air-tight and water-tight seals for second- and third-generation thin-film solar cells. Ferro will collaborate with the Edison Welding Institute, StrateNexus Technologies, and The Ohio State University, all of Columbus, Ohio, in developing, testing and commercializing this new technology.

Thin-film cells require a hermetic seal to operate reliably for their expected lifetimes of 20-plus years. This can be a problem because most current thin-film solar cell modules are designed to be sealed with organic sealants that typically lose their hermeticity in time, especially if exposed to sunlight containing UV radiation. The problem is aggravated by exposure to daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations that can further weaken the seal.

Ferro proposes to replace the organic seal with technology similar to its glass frit sealing materials presently used in thick-film solar cells and that are field-proven to last well beyond the cells' expected lifetimes.

Funding for the project is provided through the Ohio Third Frontier Photovoltaic Program, which supports research and development that addresses the technical and cost barriers to commercialization of photovoltaic components and systems in Ohio.

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