The main objective of the ARTIST project is the demonstration of an economical solution to one of the most crucial problems that the Photovoltaic (PV) industry currently encounters: the supply with silicon feedstock for a strongly growing PV solar cell and module production on multicrystalline silicon substrates. The strategy of ARTIST aims at adapting and modifying processing techniques on all levels of PV production in order to make a wider quality range of silicon feedstock usable for PV production and thus, to become less dependent on the currently used electronic grade silicon feedstock and the increasing market prices of this material.
The project consortium groups together all established European industries in the field of multicrystalline PV production (Photowatt International SA, Bayer AG and Eurosolare SpA) with leading R&D institutes like IMEC, CNRS and FHGISE.
- two innovative refinement techniques for low quality silicon feedstock will be demonstrated: (i) plasma purification, suitable for the refinement of upgraded metallurgical grade silicon and, (ii) evaporation and condensation of heavily doped n-type silicon. Both feedstock sources cannot be used by the PV industry at the moment.
- the refined feedstock will be crystallised by directional solidification and cut into wafers of 200 mm thickness. Further purification by directional solidification will be investigated.
- solar cell processing steps, such as passivation and gettering techniques, will be modified, giving rise to further improvements of the material quality on wafer level.
- material analysis and characterisation will be carried out during all development stages.
Expected achievements and exploitation
The technical goal of ARTIST is to refine low quality silicon material to a level that competitive solar cell efficiencies of 13 - 14 % can be achieved with adapted solar cell processes. A successful realisation the ARTIST project will give rise to solar grade silicon feedstock, a starting material that will be exclusively used by the PV industry. The price for this type of silicon feedstock is expected to be lowered to a level below 20 ECU/kg, resulting in an expected price of PV energy conversion at low levels of around 1.5 ECU/Wp. This target frame will help to maintain both, the competitiveness and the independence of the European PV industry. The industrial partners involved in the project will directly benefit from the new feedstock sources and the related processing techniques.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
79110 Freiburg (In Breisgau)