- HighLine Technology has been introduced by Fraunhofer ISE as its new spinoff
- It uses multi-nozzle dispensing printing process to apply front metal contacts onto solar cells
- This contactless process can be lower the consumption of silver for solar cell production by around 20%
- The technology increases the throughput significantly and can also be deployed for other production industries, claim the founders
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has introduced a new spin-off for sustainable solar cell production called HighLine Technology GmbH. The Germany solar energy scientific and engineering research and development institute says this is a result of its 10 years’ of research work on dispensing processes for silicon solar cell metallization.
HighLine deploys what Fraunhofer terms as a ‘resource-saving production technology’—developed at the institute—wherein a contactless multi-nozzle dispensing printing process is used to apply front metal contacts onto solar cells. These nozzles have diameters only half as thick as a human hair (approx. 20 µm).
The front side contacts produced by HighLine technology are thinner, exposing a larger semiconductor surface to the sunlight. It ‘promises’ a lower reject rate while expecting the inline printing process to ‘perspectively’ increase the throughput significantly when compared to conventionally used screen printing process.
The startup is out to commercialize this new process that it claims can replace the screen printing process, lowering material consumption of silver by around 20% and can easily be integrated into conventional silicon solar cell production lines.
The founders claim this technology saves resources, increases power generation output and has the potential to lower costs. It can also be deployed for other production industries beyond.
“Our main focus is currently on reducing material consumption in the photovoltaic industry,” said HighLine’s Managing Director and one of the founders, Dr Maximilian Pospischil. “Our aim is to bring the highly efficient parallel dispensing technology which was developed at Fraunhofer ISE to the market. Along, the way we are continuing to work closely with Fraunhofer ISE’s Photovoltaic Technology Evaluation Center PV-TEC.”
The spin-off is funded by German government’s Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) under its EXIST Transfer of Research program while also receiving financing from the Fraunhofer Technologie Transfer Fonds GmbH FTTF, among others.