PROJECT PROFILE: Washington State University (PVRD)

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Project Name: Developing a Low Cost, High-Volume and Scalable Manufacturing Technology for CdTe Feedstock Materials
Funding Opportunity: PVRD
SunShot Subprogram: Photovoltaics
Location: Pullman, WA
SunShot Award Amount: $1,124,992
Awardee Cost Share: $130,093
Project Investigator: Kelvin Lynn

This project is developing low cost, high volume, scalable cadmium telluride (CdTe) feedstock production technology, which can be commercialized to deliver high quality feedstocks to industry at a reduced cost with rapid production rate. The material quality of feedstocks will be optimized to the needs of high efficiency solar panel production. A novel CdTe synthesis and growth process will be developed and scaled up, and the grown material will be evaluated with respect to defect structure, carrier lifetime, and unintentional impurities.

Approach

The research team will evaluate the grown crystal material used to make CdTe cells with respect to defect structure, dopant activation, carrier lifetime, stoichiometry, and un-intentional impurities. Grown materials will be used as feedstock for thin film and device fabrication to validate material quality and cell performance in close spaced sublimation and vapor transport deposition.

Innovation

This project will develop and optimize the growth of high-quality CdTe material that will be used for fabrication of CdTe solar cells and modules. By improving the process at the very beginning, this project has the potential to lower manufacturing costs of CdTe cells, which will help to achieve a levelized cost of energy under the SunShot 2020 goal of $0.06 per kilowatt hour.