WILMINGTON, MA — Leading Edge Equipment Technologies, the maker of revolutionary silicon wafer manufacturing equipment for solar panels, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant for $998,820 to support continued research and development of their advanced silicon wafer manufacturing process.
“Our first grant from the NSF was instrumental in proving our nascent technology can move from the lab into the real world,” said Alison Greenlee, Founder of Leading Edge and Principal Investigator. “The NSF’s continued support helps us take the next step in developing this important manufacturing technology so it can be reliably deployed and drive global adoption of renewable energy.”
Leading Edge has developed a new drop-in manufacturing technology that produces kerfless, single-crystal silicon wafers for solar panels. The company’s manufacturing equipment uses their patented Floating Silicon Method™ to produce silicon wafers through ribbons. This manufacturing technology reduces silicon wafer costs by 50 percent, increases commercial solar panel power by up to seven percent, and reduces solar panel manufacturing emissions by over 55 percent. Leading Edge’s technology will accelerate renewable energy adoption and has the potential to annually eliminate up to one gigaton of CO2 when fully deployed in the industry.
“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”
The new funding will be used to continue development of p-type solar cells as well as more advanced n-type cell architectures. Development will be conducted at Leading Edge’s new production headquarters outside Boston, Massachusetts.
All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. Leading Edge has previously received non-dilutive funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
About Leading Edge Equipment Technologies
Leading Edge Equipment Technologies has developed a revolutionary crystal growth manufacturing technology that creates kerfless, single-crystal silicon wafers for solar panels. The company builds drop-in manufacturing equipment for solar panel manufacturers that can lower all-in module production costs, improve solar cell efficiency, and reduce manufacturing emissions. Learn more at www.leadingedgetech.io.
About the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Programs
America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million in funding to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/.
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