18 June 2012
Dow Corning announced today it has started research activities in the newly completed state-of-the-art Solar Energy Exploration and Development (SEED) research center, which focuses on the development and discovery of new materials and technologies that will help advance renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Part of a global network of research and development facilities, the SEED supplements Dow Corning’s existing European science capacities in Belgium, the UK and Germany. The company’s research aims to develop the innovations that will help address today’s major societal issues such as helping make renewable energy a viable and sustainable option, and meeting the challenges of rapid urbanization.
The SEED includes a Solar Application Center and a Silicon Technology Center. The center’s solar cell laboratory is Dow Corning’s first of its kind, and completes the company’s network of solar research centers based in the United States and Korea.
The Solar Application Center enables the company’s engineers and scientists to work with customers to develop and evaluate materials solutions used to make solar cells.
The laboratories comprise:
• A pilot line that has a capacity to produce solar cells from wafers through all production stages.
• A team of highly specialized scientists, lab technicians and application engineers working on full-size wafers with equipment that is typically used in full-scale solar cell manufacturing.
• The possibility to make standard solar cells, but also next-generation cells using innovative techniques and technologies to anticipate the future needs of the solar industry.
• Two labs specialized in the development of new silicon-based materials that would be used in the assembly and installation of solar panels to improve their performance, durability and efficiency, while reducing overall cost per kilowatt hour.
The Silicon Technology Center houses research activities which aim to develop next-generation silicon-based technologies and applications, many of which to be used to improve energy efficiency in construction, automotive, electronics and LED lighting. For example, Dow Corning is actively exploring opportunities in the dynamic window market, aiming to increase the energy efficiency of office buildings, as well as lithium ion-battery technology that could help increase the autonomy of electric vehicles and silicon-based materials that would enhance the efficiency of LED luminaires.
A confirmation of Dow Corning’s commitment to innovation in Europe, the SEED supplements Dow Corning’s existing research network around the world. In Europe, 200 engineers and technicians are working on silicon-based solutions to support innovation in a broad range of industries, including construction, electronics, healthcare and more.
Built with the latest technologies in energy efficiency, the SEED acts as a showcase of what can be achieved in sustainable innovation using silicon-based materials in High Performance Building.