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23 July 2009


Second DOE contract for Sunovia/EPIR targets IR detectors

Sunovia Energy Technologies Inc of Sarasota, FL and its partner EPIR Technologies Inc of Bolingbrook, IL (in which Sunovia has a stake) say that the US Department of Energy has awarded a second contract to EPIR to provide improved infrared (IR) detectors to be used in a new generation of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) tools for the non-destructive inspection and characterization of infrared materials and products (especially for quality control in production environments).

Founded in 1998, EPIR develops infrared products, many of which have been developed and produced under contracts with the US Department of Defense. Sunovia is their exclusive distributor.

The infrared detectors to be produced under the DOE contract are based on II-VI materials (cadmium telluride on silicon, CdTe/Si), similar to those used in the ultra-high-efficiency multi-junction solar cells that are being jointly developed by Sunovia and EPIR (also under DOE sponsorship, following the first award at the end of May). The firms believe that the solar cells will outperform the most efficient solar cells produced currently, but at a fraction of their cost.

“While II-VI materials have been the state-of-the-art in infrared detection for years, they are just now beginning to impact the solar industry with the emergence of thin-film CdTe technology,” says EPIR’s founder & CEO Dr Siva Sivananthan. “The single-crystal II-VI materials we have developed for infrared applications can be tuned more precisely and to a wider degree than those of the materials currently used in ultra-high-efficiency solar cells. This allows us to more efficiently split the solar spectrum and thus achieve higher-performance solar cells,” he adds.

“Government funding is an important element in the early success of the Sunovia-EPIR partnership, not only for its financial impact but also because it demonstrates the value of the advanced technology we are jointly developing,” says Sunovia's co-founder & CEO Carl Smith. “In addition, the success of EPIR’s infrared detection business, along with the growth of Sunovia’s leading-edge LED illumination business, will generate cash that will help fund our important work in developing ultra-high-efficiency solar cells.”

See related items:

DOE selects EPIR/Sunovia’s CdTe-on-Si PV technology

Sunovia and EPIR win $9m SBIR award from DoD

Sunovia finalizes $33m order for EPIR’s MWIR wafers

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