1366 Technologies, a Massachusetts firm in pursuit of low-cost silicon solar cells, just added $18 million in funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures and other investors.
The company’s technology falls in the kerfless wafer category, a technology of special interest to the DOE in days of yore.
Kerfless wafer production does not require silicon ingots to be sawn into wafers, a time-consuming process which wastes material as silicon dust.
Instead, 1366’s technology forms wafers directly, using molten silicon.
As pv magazine reported earlier this year, 1366 Technologies worked with Hanwha Q Cells and also partnered with German polysilicon manufacturer Wacker Chemie.
Van Mierlo has likened the 1366 innovation in silicon to the Bessemer process innovation at U.S. Steel or the use of float glass at Pilkington.
Despite 1366’s deliberate progress, venture capital investors typically have expectations of financial exits in the form of IPO or acquisition – particularly with long-in-the-tooth startups like 1366 Technologies.