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

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Thin films

New material with ferroelectricity and ferromagnetism may lead to better computer memory December 21st, 2016

ANU invention to inspire new night-vision specs December 7th, 2016

Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics October 12th, 2016

Continuous roll-process technology for transferring and packaging flexible LSI August 29th, 2016

Announcements

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Keystone Nano Announces The US FDA Has Awarded Orphan Drug Designation For Ceramides For The Treatment Of Liver Cancer November 8th, 2016

Leti to Tackle Tomorrow's Research Strategies with Stanford University’s SystemX Alliance: French R&D Center Is the First Research Institute to Join the Collaboration and Provides Bridges Between Academia and Industry, Leveraging Alliance’s Potential October 4th, 2016

Picosun patents ALD nanolaminate to prevent electronics from overheating September 28th, 2016

NIST Patents Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing Apps September 16th, 2016

Energy

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Nanoscale 'conversations' create complex, multi-layered structures: New technique leverages controlled interactions across surfaces to create self-assembled materials with unprecedented complexity December 22nd, 2016

Safe and inexpensive hydrogen production as a future energy source: Osaka University researchers develop efficient 'green' hydrogen production system that operates at room temperature in air December 21st, 2016

Going green with nanotechnology December 21st, 2016

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

Captured on video: DNA nanotubes build a bridge between 2 molecular posts: Research may lead to new lines of direct communication with cells January 9th, 2017

Researchers produced nitrogen doped bimodal cellular structure activated carbon December 29th, 2016

Nanomechanics Inc. Continues Growth in Revenue and Market Penetration: Leading nanoindentation company reports continued growth in revenues and distribution channels on national and international scales December 27th, 2016

Carbon dots dash toward 'green' recycling role: Rice scientists, colleagues use doped graphene quantum dots to reduce carbon dioxide to fuel December 18th, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Going green with nanotechnology December 21st, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Throwing new light on printed organic solar cells December 1st, 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