- NREL has announced the winners of its $2 million CdTe research and development award
- Winners include the Universities of Utah, Delaware, South Florida, Missouri and Arizona
- NREL has also launched another RFP to seek more CdTe research projects to support CTAC achieve its technology roadmap
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has decided to award $2 million award money on behalf of the US Department of Energy (DOE) to cadmium telluride (CdTe) research projects being carried out by the Universities of Utah, Delaware, South Florida, Missouri and Arizona, while also launching a fresh request for proposals (RFP) round.
Of the 3 topics under which the selections were made, High Efficiency Devices picked the University of Utah’s advanced back contacts and surface photovoltage (SPV)/SPV spectroscopy (SPS) characterization study to aim for 26% efficiency from CdTe based cells.
University of Delaware is working on advanced activation and contact approaches for Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CdZnTe) solar cells, while the University of South Florida is developing high efficiency n-Cd(Se)Te solar cells. The latter will focus on the development of p-type heterojunction (HJT) partners for n-CdTe/(CST) absorbers.
Topic 2 Tellurium (Te) Supply has the winner Missouri University of Science and Technology as one of the winners that’s working on selective and efficient recovery of tellurium from copper processing streams.
For Characterization, Modeling, and Simulation under topic 3, Arizona State University will work on 3D in situ correlative x-ray studies of defect chemistry, structure and electrical performance during dopant activation. Another winner in this category, the University of Utah will assess the role of microstructures in advanced CdTe devices for the project titled microcontact arrays measuring local carrier transport in CdTe solar cells.
The US government through the DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) is promoting the development of silicon-free CdTe solar technology for which it has set up a CdTe Accelerator Consortium (CTAC) for a 3-year term. In September 2023, CTAC invited proposals for small projects in the space to win $2 million award through the NREL.
On June 5, 2023 NREL launched yet another RFP round to back additional CdTe research efforts to help CTAC meet its technology roadmap under which it will enable cell efficiencies above 24% and module costs below $0.20/W by 2025, expanding cell efficiency to over 26% and module costs below $0.15/W by 2030. The last date to submit proposals is July 17, 2023.
Both First Solar and Toledo Solar, 2 major CdTe module manufacturers in the US, are part of the CTAC and both are currently at loggerheads. First Solar has accused its competitor of selling and marketing its modules under Toledo Solar brand name.
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