Energy stimulus funding awarded to Washington Technology Center

Center receives $136,000 in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), disbursed through the U.S. Department of Energy, for nano-scale solar energy technology.

SEATTLE – June 12, 2009 – Washington Technology Center has been awarded $136,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy “Photovoltaic Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies” program, for a project to develop nano-scale imprinting methods to enhance thin-film silicon solar energy technology. The program will be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

This project allows for follow-on work from a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)-funded research program focused on nanoscale lithography.

“This project builds on WTC’s work over the past three years,” said Lee Cheatham, Ph.D., executive director of Washington Technology Center (WTC). “We’re pleased with this support from the Department of Energy and Congress. This funding will help Washington Technology Center and our partners accelerate our innovative work in solar energy technology. These investigations into nano-scale imprinting methods could lead to new manufacturing processes and increased efficiencies in the solar energy industry within five years. We believe this investment will help Washington and the Pacific Northwest stay at the forefront of the technology-based clean energy industry.”

The title of the WTC project is “Nanoimprinted Diffraction Gratings for Light Trapping in Crystal-Silicon Film Photovoltaics.”

“The premise of our work is straight forward,” Cheatham explains. “Tiny features on the surface of a silicon thin-film solar cell ‘bend’ the light in the silicon. More light is trapped and converted into electricity. WTC’s principal investigator on the project, Dr. Dirk Weiss, has been getting great results from his work using a technology called ‘nanoimprinting,’ and this funding will allow him to develop the proof of concept for a solar photovoltaic module.”

Washington Technology Center’s project partners are Oregon State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The Washington Technology Center project is one of 24 projects receiving funding from the DOE through a competitive award process.

According to the DOE Web site, the funded projects range from automated assembly to semiconductor fabrication, and target manufacturing and product cost reduction with the potential to have an impact within 2 to 6 years on a substantial segment of the photovoltaic industry. DOE will invest up to $22 million as part of the Photovoltaic Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies project which identifies and accelerates the development of unique PV products or processes that will impact the solar industry. The project supports the overall goals of the DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP or Solar Program).

The total WTC project cost is $184,000 with $136,000 coming from DOE and nearly $48,000 in cost matching and in-kind contributions from WTC and project partner Oregon State University.

Resources for additional information:
WTC project summary [.pdf]
DOE Web site link to awarded projects [link to external site]

About Washington Technology Center
Washington Technology Center is a statewide economic development organization focused on technology and innovation. We spark ideas, form connections between people and resources, and foster job growth to position Washington state as a national technology leader. As an organization, Washington Technology Center channels state, federal, and private resources to help companies develop and commercialize new products and technologies. Our 15,000-square-foot Microfabrication Laboratory provides companies and university researchers access to facilities and specialized equipment for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) research and product/process development. The impact of Washington Technology Center’s work has generated more than $600 million in additional investment for Washington companies and researchers. For more information how Washington Technology Center can help research and development projects succeed, visit http://www.watechcenter.org or call 206-685-1920.

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This entry was posted in ARRA, DOE, Energy, Funding, Nanotechnology, NREL, OSU, WTC_News. Bookmark the permalink.

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