The most hyped new product in the solar sphere comes from BioSolar and its many derivatives of its backsheet material, based originally on cotton and beans. The company has released claims that it will now enter production and have product available for sale at commercial levels sometime in the second half of 2009.
Though this is vague, considering its persistent updates since 2007, detailing every step of its progress to commercialization, that isn’t the real problem with a product that has a claimed 50% cost reduction over conventional backsheet products.
In October 2007 the company started UL Certification on its original ‘BioBacksheet’ product, yet with only one other update concerning passing the ‘Damp Heat Test’ in January 2008, we have not had any news concerning the product actually gaining UL Certification!
A clue as to why may well be found in the latest press release, where Dr. David Lee, BioSolar’s Chairman and CEO stated:
“BioBacksheet-C is a two-component system. The substrate is a cellulosic material coated with a proprietary material to reduce the water vapor transmission rate and to increase abrasion resistance. BioBacksheet-C is undergoing rigorous testing and adjustments over the past months to ensure its functional durability as well as its cosmetic consistency. Once all the adjustments and improvements are finalized, BioBacksheet-C will go through one additional full cycle of vigorous tests before commercial production begins.”
Whether those tests are with UL or someone else or just internally isn’t clear. What is clear, however, is that UL Certification hasn’t happened in nearly two years. Perhaps this is why the commercial release date is so vague as well.