Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > AccuStrata Inc. Receives Third Set of Stimulus Funding

Abstract:
Grant Supports Company's Technology to Make Solar Panel Manufacturing More Efficient

AccuStrata Inc. Receives Third Set of Stimulus Funding

College Park, MD | Posted on December 15th, 2009

The biggest problem with solar panels is they cost too much for the power they generate. AccuStrata Inc. is developing a technology that could change that.

The company, based in the University of Maryland's Technology Advancement Program incubator, just won a $150,000, phase-one Department of Energy Small Business Innovation Research grant, its third in six months. AccuStrata will use the grant to refine its field-tested, patent-protected system for monitoring the effectiveness of thin-film solar panel production in real time, enabling manufacturers to make on-the-fly adjustments and ensure panels' efficiency.

"Solar panels are priced by the electricity they produce, dollar per watt," says Oscar von Bredow, chief operating officer of AccuStrata. "The ways to make them more affordable are to improve the manufacturing yield or increase the efficiency of the panels so they generate more power."

AccuStrata's technology does both. It increases the efficiency of solar panels and saves manufacturers millions of dollars by reducing the number of lower quality panels produced.

Thin-film solar panels are made through a long manufacturing process by depositing layers of different materials, only a few microns thick total, onto a substrate such as a glass panel, metal or plastic roll. The quality of these films largely determines how well the solar panel performs.

Depositing the films is a complex process, requiring tight control over many factors, including chemical, optical, and electrical properties, all while maintaining geometrically and structurally uniform films.

The problem is, manufacturers are only able to test efficiency of the panels after they have been made, and if something is wrong, adjustments are only made on the next panel or batch. Lower quality panels are discarded or sold as inferior.

But AccuStrata's system lets manufacturers know what is going on while the panels are being made, enabling immediate corrections and the production of better panels.

"Currently, manufacturers have no way of knowing how the films are growing inside their deposition chambers, at least until the entire film is deposited," says Dr. George Atanasoff, president of AccuStrata. "We are giving the manufacturer the ability to know, in real time, what the quality of the film is as it is deposited and how this will affect the final panel quality."

AccuStrata's prototype system consists of patented miniature fiber optic sensors installed at specific locations in existing equipment without disrupting the manufacturing process, along with external hardware and software. The system monitors the spectral reflectance and light scattering of films as they are deposited and calculates film properties and their uniformity over the area of the panel, critical for the panel's final quality.

This summer, AccuStrata installed a prototype in the live production environment of a large solar panel manufacturer. Another installation is just under way.

"As of today, a percent increase in efficiency at a constant price per watt translates into a percent increase in revenue for manufacturers," says von Bredow. "If our system is able to increase the panel efficiency by only 12-15 percent, as expected, and was adopted by only 25 percent of the $35 billion thin-film solar manufacturing market, it would save over $1 billion by 2013. As prices per watt decrease, manufacturers can lower the price for panels and continue to be profitable. Manufacturers are also able to reduce costs and save energy. This will accelerate solar technology's ability to achieve grid parity with traditional energy sources."

The next step is automation. AccuStrata is developing the Thin Film Auto Pilot, which will automatically make corrections during the thin-film solar panel manufacturing process without any human involvement. This new DoE grant supports this research.

The company has acquired more than $1 million in funding from founders, angel investors, and grants. In June 2009, AccuStrata received a National Science Foundation phase-one SBIR grant for $100,000. In August 2009, the company won another DOE Supply Chain grant for $150,000. The company also received funding from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) through the Maryland Technology Transfer Fund.

AccuStrata plans to enter additional markets using thin-film deposition, such as nanotechnology, flat panel displays, telecom, medical and military applications.

The company has six employees. It has received two patents, has filed another patent, and is in the process of filing more.

AccuStrata was selected as the Maryland Incubator Company of the Year in 2008 and was again nominated for Maryland Incubator Company of the Year in 2009.

####

About Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
For over 20 years, TAP has helped entrepreneurs build some of the most successful technology companies in the mid-Atlantic region. TAP's staff is comprised of seasoned veterans of startups and venture capital firms who provide business advice and support, market intelligence, introductions, access to funding and other critical assistance that can accelerate the growth of technology ventures. TAP offers furnished offices and flexible lab space as well as a multitude of other benefits and services that can only be found at a technology business incubator situated right on the campus of one of the nation's top public universities, the University of Maryland. TAP was the first technology business incubator in the state of Maryland and is the birthplace of two of Maryland's billion dollar companies: Gaithersburg-based Digene Corporation (now part of Qiagen) and Columbia-based Martek Biosciences.

About AccuStrata (www.accustrata.com)

AccuStrata Inc. is a College Park, Md.-based company developing an intelligent, real-time optical control system able to improve thin film photovoltaic (solar cell) manufacturing, resulting in higher conversion efficiency and reduced cost. As a result of the company's solution, solar cells produce more power, resulting in increased revenue and profit for manufacturers.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © PrNewswire

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Thin films

Self-cleaning, anti-reflective, microorganism-resistant coatings: Researchers at the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country are modifying surface properties of materials to obtain specific properties at a lower cost August 9th, 2016

Scientists find a way of acquiring graphene-like films from salts to boost nanoelectronics: Physicists use supercomputers to find a way of making 'imitation graphene' from salt July 30th, 2016

Cambridge Advanced Imaging Centre praises support film consistency and quality from EM Resolutions July 5th, 2016

New nanomaterial offers promise in bendable, wearable electronic devices: Electroplated polymer makes transparent, highly conductive, ultrathin film June 13th, 2016

Announcements

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

A promising route to the scalable production of highly crystalline graphene films August 26th, 2016

Graphene under pressure August 26th, 2016

Nanofiber scaffolds demonstrate new features in the behavior of stem and cancer cells August 25th, 2016

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Shareholder Update August 22nd, 2016

Starpharma initiates new DEPô drug delivery program with AstraZeneca July 27th, 2016

Integration of novel materials with silicon chips makes new 'smart' devices possible July 25th, 2016

Research team led by NUS scientists develop plastic flexible magnetic memory device: Novel technique to implant high-performance magnetic memory chip on a flexible plastic surface without compromising performance July 21st, 2016

Energy

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Forces of nature: Interview with microscopy innovators Gerd Binnig and Christoph Gerber August 26th, 2016

New electrical energy storage material shows its power: Nanomaterial combines attributes of both batteries and supercapacitors August 25th, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Let's roll: Material for polymer solar cells may lend itself to large-area processing: 'Sweet spot' for mass-producing polymer solar cells may be far larger than dictated by the conventional wisdom August 12th, 2016

NREL technique leads to improved perovskite solar cells August 11th, 2016

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer: Philadelphia-based team shows how a ferroelectric insulator can surpass shockley-queisser limit August 9th, 2016

Tiny high-performance solar cells turn power generation sideways August 5th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic