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Alternative Energy (Downloadable PDF)

Solar

MicroFab is developing low-cost, high-volume, flexible solar cell manufacturing methods using company’s patented drop-on-demand ink-jet technology. This system will enable printing of solar cells of any size on any type of substrate including plastics, making it a lower cost alternative to conventional inorganic semiconductor-based solar cells. Current developments are focusing on existing bulk heterojunction organic PV materials.

Fuel Cells

Researchers at multiple institutions are developing ink-jet based fuel cell manufacturing processes. Specific activities include: controlling the deposition of expensive catalyst; printing polymer membrane materials; developing new materials using combinatorial approaches; and patterning adhesives/sealants. MicroFab's development activities include printing nanoparticle inks, functional polymers, adhesives, and 3-D interconnect structures.

  

  

Some of the advantages of ink-jet technology for fuel cell manufacturing are:
  • Low waste of precious metals like Pt;
  • Low cost deposition process;
  • High precision;
  • Direct write, data-driven process;
  • Non-contact printing;
  • Scalable to production;
  • Allows for combinatorial approaches; and
  • Allows for printing on conformal surfaces.