Silicon wafers are the building blocks of solar panels. Manufacturing silicon wafers is expensive, slow and is the leading contributor to the carbon footprint of solar panels. Our goal is to revolutionize the industry by introducing clean, low cost, US based silicon wafer manufacturing, filling a large gap in the solar value chain in the US.
Solar wafers are produced today in two expensive and slow processes: (1) high purity poly-silicon is melted and re-solidified to produce a mono-crystalline cylindrical “boule” in a costly quartz crucible. The crystallization process takes days to form a complete boule. (2) The boule is then sawed into thin slices known as wafers. Nearly 50% of the raw materials are wasted as trimmings and as “saw dust” or kerf.
Our technology revolutionizes silicon wafer manufacturing by replacing these two expensive and slow processes with a single continuous process that is efficient and easier to ramp up. We also eliminate the expensive material loss by directly pulling silicon wafers from a molten silicon bath.
Environmentally Friendly - 50% Less GHG
Solar energy promises clean and renewable energy but the manufacturing of solar panels is estimated to be responsible for 5% of global Greenhouse Gas emissions.
By avoiding material loss and moving to a continuous process, we can eliminate 50% of the Greenhouse Gas emissions - a savings equivalent to taking 1.25M cars off the road.
Cost Effective - Save 50%
Producing silicon wafers is the most expensive step in making a solar panel, accounting for about 50% of the installed cost. At present, silicon wafers for solar panels are produced in China using a two-step approach.
Using US Department of Energy analysis tools, we have shown that our continuous wafer production technology reduces the cost of producing silicon wafers by 50%. Our wafers are produced in the US.
SilisiumTech began 10 years ago as a research project at Carnegie Mellon University led by our Co-Founder and CTO Dr. Erik Ydstie where he focused his reach effort on understanding why the production of kerfless silicon wafers for the solar industry hasn't been successful. Thanks to $5 million in research grants from the National Science Foundation, the State of Pennsylvania, and the US DOE-NREL and equipment and insights from giants such as REC Silicon, HSC, and BP Solar, the solution has been found. The founders launched the company after winning Rounds 1 and 2 of the DOE-NREL Made In America Solar Prize, and mentorship from the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at CMU. To honor Dr. Ydstie's achievement and his heritage.... Silisium is Norwegian for silicon.
Randy Eager, Co-Founder and CEO, Serial Entrepreneur who co-founded four materials companies and built an advanced materials business within the German chemical company BASF. Randy is passionate about renewable energy, decarbonization, and building companies.
Dr. Erik Ydstie, Co-Founder and CTO, has decades of process control experience at Carnegie Mellon University as a professor/inventor and in industry. He has strong ties to industry including having served 1.5 years as the CTO of Elkem, a $3 billion materials company where he took silicon in the lab and scaled it to $1B in production.
John Easoz, Co-Founder and Advisor, has 40 +years of experience in photovoltaics development and manufacturing. He has vast experience in Si ribbon growth development and was COO of a vertically integrated manufacturer producing PV silicon ingots, wafers, and cells. John is currently CEO of a company developing an ultra-high efficiency solar cell technology.