Art on LinkedIn...
...from a comment he made on the 'PV Insider: Thin Film experts" board in reply to a post titled; 'More than 1,000 GW of solar in India?'
Art P. Lamstein
Director of Marketing for both Quantum Materials Corp. and Solterra Renewable Technologies, Inc
If India does not succeed in this solar quest, neither will the world. We are faced with the dire consequences of neglect in fighting global warming, a fight we should have collectively begun 20 years ago, but are still arguing today. We cannot depend on governments but must have profitable solar businesses that do not depend on subsidies.
You are optimistic but list many challenges standing in the way. I am optimistic too, due to my faith in solar energy being the best way to stem the tide and reverse global warming before it is too late for us all. I agree the challenges can be overcome, but not through the incremental increases in silicon panel efficiencies & cost reductions. The major barrier to 1000Gw of solar power is the CAPEX for building factories. Governments and private equity do not have the capital to invest at this level of risk. Looking at the enormity of the situation, the largest solar panel producers manufacture 3Gw/annum, so it would be necessary to scale them by 333 times!
I work for a company that was created over seven years ago to specifically meet these cost and scaling challenges through the regional formation of joint ventures around quantum dot solar cell plants. Each plant would have a CAPEX at a fraction of the cost of solar panel plants, and would have inherent scaling capability without increased infrastructure cost. The science of quantum dot solar and photovoltaic potential was confirmed by Dr Arthur Nozik and NREL. They proved that quantum dots have MEG potential- Multiple Exciton Generation, or more excitons created per photon than one. They theorized that solar powered quantum dots can reach a maximum of ~65% efficiency, a much greater upside, versus silicon panels potential ~32% potential maximum.
Earlier this year QMC announced pending delivery of automated quantum dot mass-production equipment in the 2000Kg/annum size. This is disruptive technology.It is the forerunner of a nanotech industrial revolution where nanomaterials will transform manufacturing. Our vision for the next generation of solar cell can be made by roll-to-roll printing presses adapted to print and seal flexible polymer quantum dot solar cells. The comparable cost of starting such a factory is roughly one-fifth the cost of a silicon panel factory the same size and payback is quicker..
Scaling possibilities are flexible. If these improvements are made over time, it is feasible to imagine a scaling 10x improvement over the starting conditions by:
1. Increasing the quantum efficiency of the quantum dots. We have not published specifications because although we can be profitable now, by the time full solar cell production begins we expect much better numbers. Giving today's efficiencies would be underestimating and trying to predict final numbers could be misleading. Further, quantum dots can be mixed to absorb different wavelengths,including IR, and so collect energy 24 hours per day or in foggy or inclement weather. The efficiency of quantum dot solar must be measured over 24 hours, not just peak sun.
2. Increasing the speed of the roll-to-roll printing. Although we will start production at a lower number, it is not uncommon for regular printing presses to have speeds of 600/meters/minute, for example.
3. Finally, there is an option to increase the number of work shifts to increase production.
This is my view of the future of next generation solar. Low cost of startup, regionally based franchise style plants, automated for low cost of operation, producing low-cost solar cells, inherently scalable by incremental improvements, and not dependent on government restrictions as a condition of their funding. Depending on the starting size of the plant, scaling to Gigawatt size is possible.
This type of plant can spur local community businesses. The balance of systems industries that spring up around such plants could thrive installing and servicing these light weight and easy to use solar cells.