Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

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

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Kalam: versatility personified August 1st, 2015

Thin films

Nano Spray Instrument Market 2015 - Global Industry Survey, Analysis, Size, Share, Outlook and Forecast to 2020 July 31st, 2015

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

Iranian Scientists Create Best Conditions for Synthesis of Gold Nanolayers July 23rd, 2015

ORNL researchers make scalable arrays of 'building blocks' for ultrathin electronics July 22nd, 2015

Announcements

Self-assembling, biomimetic membranes may aid water filtration August 1st, 2015

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company, HZO, Announces Partnerships with Dell and Motorola August 1st, 2015

Advances and Applications in Biosensing, Sensor Power, and Sensor R&D to be Covered at Sensors Global Summit August 1st, 2015

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Quantum networks: Back and forth are not equal distances! July 28th, 2015

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Smarter window materials can control light and energy July 22nd, 2015

Magnetic nanoparticles could be key to effective immunotherapy: New method moves promising strategy closer to clinical use July 15th, 2015

Energy

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

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

Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics July 31st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

European Technology Platform for Nanomedicine and ENATRANS European Consortium Launch the 2nd edition of the Nanomedicine Award: The Award to be presented at BIO-Europe conference in Munich, November 2015 July 30th, 2015

Publication on Atomic Force Microscopy based nanoscale IR Spectroscopy (AFM-IR) persists as a 2015 top downloaded paper July 29th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

Transparent, electrically conductive network of encapsulated silver nanowires: A novel electrode for optoelectronics August 1st, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Rice University finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells: Plasmonics study suggests how to maximize production of 'hot electrons' July 22nd, 2015

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