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Dow Corning kicks-off research activities at new solar energy development center
by Staff Writers
Seneffe, Belgium (SPX) Jun 22, 2012


The SEED is comprised of two major facilities: a Solar Application Center (SAC) and a Synthesis Technology Center (STC).

Dow Corning has announced that it has commenced research activities at the newly completed, state-of-the-art Solar Energy Exploration and Development (SEED) Center. The SEED, located at the company's European headquarters in Belgium, enables the research and development of new silicon-based solutions that will help advance the solar industry.

One of the primary goals of the SEED is to expand Dow Corning's technical capabilities in solar cell manufacturing in order to facilitate collaboration with industry partners and accelerate product development.

The SEED is comprised of two major facilities: a Solar Application Center (SAC) and a Synthesis Technology Center (STC). The SAC provides in-house capabilities to complete the full process of photovoltaic (PV) cell fabrication -from wafers to finished cells - and to measure technical performance. The SAC enhances Dow Corning's R and D competencies along the PV value chain and completes the company's network of solar research centers based in Europe, the United States and Korea.

At the SAC, Dow Corning engineers and scientists will work more closely with customers to develop, evaluate and test silicon-based solutions used to make solar cells. The SAC comprises:

+ A pilot line able to produce silicon solar cell wafers through all production stages from the wafer up to the finished cell and to measure cell performance on all aspects.

+ A team of highly specialized scientists, lab technicians and application engineers working on full-size wafers with equipment that is typically used in full-scale solar cell manufacturing.

+ The possibility to make standard solar cells and next-generation cells using innovative techniques and technologies to anticipate the future needs of the solar industry.

+ Two labs specialized in the development of new silicon-based materials that would be used in the assembly and installation of solar panels to improve their performance, durability and efficiency, while reducing overall cost per kilowatt hour.

The Silicon Technology Center (STC) houses research activities which aim to develop next-generation silicon-based technologies and applications, many of which to be used to improve energy efficiency in construction, automotive and electronics.

"Dow Corning's Solar Application Center complements our global innovation capabilities and facilitates our collaboration with customers and research institutes," said Eric Peeters, Dow Corning's vice president for Solar Solutions. "Our research continues to focus on reducing the cost of solar energy to make PV even more competitive with traditional energy sources."

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