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  • Solar Cotton & Castor Beans
Aug 2008
SPIE Optics+Photonics

SAN DIEGO and SANTA CLARITA, Calif., Aug 12, 2008 – After being held in the utmost secrecy for 18 months, BioSolar Inc. has unveiled a protective covering for photovoltaic (PV) solar cells made from cotton and castor beans.

While not revealing core proprietary or patent-pending elements of the intellectual property at this week's SPIE Optics+Photonics conference in San Diego, BioSolar’s Stan Levy, chief technology officer, divulged in his presentation that the bio-based components are a composite of cellulosic material derived from cotton, combined with an arcane nylon (nylon 11), which is derived from castor beans.

“Until today, this information has remained highly-guarded over the past 18 months as BioSolar established academic and industry credibility,” said David Lee, BioSolar's chairman and CEO. “Now that our technology is strongly protected both domestically and abroad, we are able to share this exciting news with the public.”

Levy detailed the procedures and results of the company’s 18-month product development effort to engineer the so-called BioBacksheet, from non-food, plant-based materials. He provided an in-depth look at the science and applied technology behind the unique bio-sustainable formulation and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes used to create the company’s BioBacksheet product. The two sustainably sourced components are combined utilizing the company’s proprietary manufacturing process.

“We have demonstrated that functional photovoltaic backsheets can be produced from renewable resources,” said Levy. “We believe that the BioBacksheet is a viable alternative to backsheets currently in use. Not only is this product produced from sustainable and renewable resources, but is expected to be more cost effective than the current backsheets.”

“Also, manufacturers currently enduring a six-month wait for materials like DuPont’s petroleum-based Tedlar protective material will undoubtedly be interested in this development,” added Lee.

Levy further highlighted the fact that the materials, both individually and in combination, meet or exceed the characteristics of various testing and performance standards for the photovoltaic industry. While additional testing is being conducted as part of the run-up to full-scale production, no fundamental problems have been found with the product up to this point.

Lee gave high praise to Levy and the development team’s efforts. Commenting on the response to the presentation, Lee said, “As a publicly traded company we have a responsibility to our shareholders to maximize the value of their investment. With this presentation, Levy has laid out the exciting results of the past year-and-a-half’s hard work. This tremendous success and the positive feedback from those manufacturers who have been testing our product samples are guiding our drive to full production capacity.”

SPIE Optics+Photonics is the largest and most technically prestigious optical sciences and technology meeting in North America. The Solar Applications and Energy track of the conference is dedicated to finding ways to move toward secure, affordable, and environmentally sustainable energy to meet the world’s accelerating energy needs.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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