BioSolar Inc., developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, offering solar cell backsheet, solar cell substrate and solar cell superstrate, and biosolar photovoltaic plastic components based on lower cost bio-based materials. Most of the solar industry is focused on photovoltaic efficiency to reduce cost, but BioSolar is the company to introduce a new dimension of cost reduction by replacing petroleum-based plastic solar cell components with durable bio-based materials.

BioSolar Photovoltaic Solar Cells based on Bio-MaterialsToday, petroleum-based plastics are used in the production of virtually all PV solar modules. However, the cost of these plastics has been steadily increasing due to rising oil prices, which runs counter to the industry’s effort to further cost reductions to make solar energy competitive with conventional fossil fuel. Furthermore, petroleum-based plastics are not environmentally neutral. For an example, traditional PV backsheets are produced mainly from polyester and Tedlar films. Polyester is made from petroleum and Tedlar is solvent-cast using DMAC, a highly toxic industrial solvent. Both of these materials defeat the goal of clean and green solar energy. As the demand increases, so does this issue.

Bio-based materials can be produced inexpensively, and because they are derived from renewable plant sources their costs are not tied to high oil prices. In the past, conventional bio-based materials have not been successfully used in PV applications, due to their low melting temperature and fragile molecular structure. Most bio-based materials available today will not withstand existing solar cell manufacturing processes.

Leveraging more than 40 years of experience in material science and processing technology, the BioSolar scientific team have developed a low cost bio-based material that meets the manufacturing and operating requirements of PV solar systems. This new tough bio-based material will be able to offer the durability and environmental characteristics of conventional petroleum-based plastics, such as electromagnetic properties, mechanical strength, dimensional stability, and weatherability required by PV solar applications.