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BioSolar launches BioBacksheet for thin-film PV modules

BioSolar plans to expand the company’s BioBacksheet™ technology producing bio-based materials from plant sources for backsheets for copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Currently, BioSolar’s patent-pending BioBacksheet technology for crystalline silicon (C-Si) solar PV cells is in the pre-production phase. Designed to replace petroleum-based components with renewable plant sources, the BioBacksheet is a “premium-grade backsheet” consisting of a cellulosic film combined with a water resistant and high dielectric strength nylon film made from castor beans.

“At present, the C-Si area is the largest photovoltaic market segment,” says Dr David Lee, BioSolar Chairman and CEO. “However, at BioSolar we recognise that the low-cost potential of thin-film modules, particularly CIGS and CdTe, are emerging as formidable competitors in the global solar market and attracting gigantic investments. Many of these thin-film PV manufacturers have expressed strong interests for a ‘green’ backsheet to be incorporated into their thin-film solar panels.”

In the recent report PV Technology, Production and Cost, 2009 Forecast, Greentech Media analysts report that “companies making cadmium-telluride panels could produce nearly 1.5 GW, or 6%, of the global supply by 2012.” The report also says that in the same time frame, “companies that make copper-indium-gallium-selenide solar panels could produce 12%, or nearly 3 GW, of the worldwide supply of solar panels.”

Dr Stanley Levy, BioSolar’s Chief Technology Officer, says: “These products require a backsheet comprising an almost perfect moisture barrier. Currently, glass is the material of choice. It works, but it is heavy and expensive. In response, we have started development on a BioBacksheet with the required barrier properties for this application. It is a composite film consisting of bio-based and 100% recyclable materials. The resulting product is expected to be much lighter than glass as well as lower cost.”

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