Thursday, October 8, 2009

Solar cells using tiny spheres of silicon

Focusing Light on Silicon Beads
Placing tiny spheres of silicon in reflective trays could be the key to cheap, efficient solar cells.

Spherical solar cells were originally proposed by Texas Instruments about 30 years ago, says Branz. But while they had the potential to reduce the amount of silicon used, they brought with them a host of new problems. Their curved surfaces, for example, can cause more light to be reflected, which reduces their efficiency. What's more, only half of the sphere ends up actually being exposed to light. Significant gaps also tend to form between the spheres when arranged in arrays, which can further reduce the efficiency of the solar cell.

Process for producing crystalline silicon spheres - Patent 4637855
Method of isolating shorted silicon spheres - US Patent 5192400
Method of making doped silicon spheres - US Patent 5278097

Solar Energy: Popcorn-ball Design Doubles Efficiency Of Dye-sensitized Solar Cells
porous spheres are able to manipulate light and more than double the efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity.

Spheral Solar Will Start Production In 2004  Where did these guys go?

Officials of Sphere Renewable Energy Corp. based in California announced plans to develop a wholly-owned subsidiary, Buckeye Silicon (BeSi) in Toledo at UT June 23.

Video Sphere Renewable Energy Corp forms Buckeye Silicon joins Toledo solar business
Video Buckeye Silicon
Very odd that I can not find a web site for either company. 
Contacts listed: Jim Calhoun, 419-893-9600 & Mark Erickson, 714-497-9499

Companies doing this.

Clean Venture 21 (CV21),  Kyoto, Japan.

Sphere Renewable Energy Corp. (SREC),  California
Buckeye Silicon (BeSi),  Toledo, OH

Spheral Solar Power (now gone?) - A division of ATS Automation Tooling Systems ,  Ontario, Canada

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