EU PVSEC: Linde addresses the issue of ‘green’ module manufacture

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In answer to a common question in the renewables industry, Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, is addressing the issue of reducing the carbon footprint of module manufacture. Frequently raised is the issue of producing a clean, renewable energy using non-renewable and environment damaging methods.

While aiming to reduce the production costs of module manufacture, many companies turn to lower cost, and often environment harming alternatives. Linde is one company in this industry working to combat this problem. Based on work by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the payback time for both crystalline silicon cells and thin-film silicon modules, in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions, is between three to four years, with an aggressive target for thin-film of one-year payback.

Linde is reviewing the entire thin-film manufacturing and supply chain from a materials perspective and has identified the possibility of significant CO2-eq. emission savings in the PECVD chamber cleaning process, by using Fluorine in place of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 17,200 times that of CO2. By changing from NF3 to F2 alone, Linde estimates that the CO2 payback time for thin-film PV modules can be cut significantly, by up to two years.

Dean O’Connor, Head of Electronics Market Development & Technology at Linde Gases Division said, “Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. As grid parity becomes ever closer to a reality, we as an industry need to start channeling our efforts towards reducing the carbon footprint of solar cell manufacturing. Environmental concerns continue to dominate the global agenda so green parity is an inevitable important new area of focus for suppliers and manufacturers.”

Linde Gases Division is bringing together industry experts from M+W Zander, Oerlikon, Suniva, Malibu and EuPD Research to host the seminar: “From grid parity to green parity – sustainability in an era of overwhelming cost pressure” at the 24th EUPVSEC. By considering aspects of PV fab design, as well as equipment and materials selection, Linde will explore methods to improve sustainability in manufacturing. Case studies from current cell and module makers will also be featured for discussion.

The seminar will be held on the Thursday, the 24th September (14.30 – 17.45 CET) at the CCH Congress Centre, Hamburg.

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