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Cleantech Comp finalist: BluGlass reaches for solar revolution

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(This is a series of profiles of finalists in the Australian CleanTech Competition)

ASX-listed cleantech company, BluGlass Limited, selected as one of the top eight finalists for the Australian CleanTech Competition, says its ground-breaking new technology could revolutionise the solar cell industry.

The technology is called remote plasma chemical vapour deposition (RPCVD), and it has the potential to grow group III nitrides – semiconductors used in light-emitting diodes, and concentrated solar cells.

As the Sydney-based company explains on its website, the technology has the potential to allow electronics manufacturers to create higher performing devices at lower cost, allowing for greater production scalability, while also being friendlier to the environment.

The process can replace current metal organic chemical vapour deposition (MOVCD), thus removing the need for ammonia in production and leading to a potential reduction of 39,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for each RPCVD tool used.

It has also been specially developed for the low temperature growth of nitride based thin films, which BluGlass says have very exciting applications for the solar industry, with the combined chemical, indium gallium nitride, able to covert almost the entire full spectrum of sunlight to electrical power.

The solar cells with this semiconductor are also long lasting, relatively inexpensive and according to the company, the most efficient ever created. Although the company’s focus is on their LED production, the solar panels are said to have a “theoretical efficiency of over 70%” according to Stef Winwood, BluGlass’s Investor and Marketing Relations Manager.

Founded in 2005, after more than 15 years of research at Macquarie University, the company floated on the ASX with the primary aim of developing semiconductor processes and equipment for the manufacture of high efficiency devices (such as LED’s).

In July of this year the company received a $3 million grant from the Federal Government’s ‘Clean Technology Innovation Program’. Stef stated that the grant would be used “to demonstrate that our product will create brighter LED’s and to explore the possibility of growing gallium nitrate on silicone”.

Currently gallium nitrate is grown on silicone on sapphire, which is an expensive and manufacturing intensive product. The benefit of using silicone to grow GaN is lower cost and reduced energy requirements.

The company’s stock surged last October, peaking on November 23 at 30.5 cents, when it released new information that it could produce the aforementioned nitrides with a virtually no impurities, backed up by an independent party.

Winwood credited the CleanTech competition for its “extensive mentoring program, meeting investors in the industry, introductions to government support agencies and to meet other industry companies”.

This is one in a series of articles RenewEconomy will be running on the finalists of the Australian CleanTech Competition 2013.

  

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