Apr 2021
NexWafe Names New CTO to Bring its Green Silicon Photovoltaic Technology from Pilot Prototyping to Production
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Efficiency without the “Kerf”

NexWafe uses the Kerfless Wafer Technology for the production of monocrystalline silicon wafers. Our EpiWafers are a drop-in replacement for Cz wafers in solar cell production. We will supply them at an unprecedented price.

“A game changer.
That’s the best attribute I can imagine for EpiWafers.”

About Us

Opening new frontiers in solar power

NexWafe takes the next step in photovoltaic wafer technology. Our unique process gives us an unbeatable competitive advantage over other technologies. To the benefit of our customers.

The key factor

Certificate Hightech Venture Days 2017

Up to now silicon wafers have made up to around 40 percent of the costs of a solar module and were therefore the most costly single components. We use Kerfless Wafer Technology, which is based on chemical vapour-phase epitaxy to achieve enormous material and energy savings during wafer manufacturing. In this way we are able to provide high quality wafers for high efficiency solar cells, at significantly lower cost than conventional silicion wafers produced by the Cz method – a significant breakthrough for the entire industry.

NexWafe is 1/40 best Euopean Hightech Startups at #HTVD17.
(Download | 102KB)

From a reliable source

NexWafe was founded in 2015, as a spinoff of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). We are building a semi-automatic pilot production in Freiburg, Germany, and, as a next step, a production facility for mass production of EpiWafers.

Our investors and partners

“What do customers want?
High efficiency, uncompromised yield, low cost, and, above all, no modifications to their production lines.
Our EpiWafer can fulfil all.”

Context

Game-changing technology

NexWafe’s EpiWafer technology is a highly innovative process providing the solar industry a fast-growing multi-billion euro market with fresh impetus.

Technology changes with time

Silicon photovoltaics, after half a century of process optimization still the predominant solar technology, has managed to reduce cost of PV power dramatically. Already since a couple of years this cost reduction stagnated, significant future reduction potential is not in sight. Complex processing and high material losses are the reason for it:

Ultra-pure silicon is produced, then broken into pieces, molten in a crucible and mono-crystalline ingots are pulled from the melt. After this ingot pulling the ingots are cut into bricks and then polished and finally sawn into wafers. More than half of the valuable silicon material is lost during this process, carrying with it enormous losses of energy spent for its production.

New, innovative approaches are therefore essential for continuing cost reduction to foster further success of silicon photovoltaics.

Groundbreaking innovation

The EpiWafer technology eliminates five of these typical process steps and at the same time it prevents the production of scrap. Highly efficient monocrystalline silicon wafers are directly produced in a reliable high quality from a gaseous source by means of only one key machine. These wafers can be seamlessly integrated into all further solar cell and module processing steps.

Conventional
Production Process

NexWafe`s
Kerfless Process

Chlorosilane
Chlorosilane
Chlorosilane

Epitaxy

Chlorosilane
Poly Silicon
Poly Silicon
Cz Ingot Pulling
Cz Ingot Pulling
Cropping Squaring
Cropping Squaring
Grinding
Grinding
Wire Sawing
Wire Sawing
Wafer NexWafe
Growing Power

Wafer

“EpiWafers are fascinating: nearly no waste, much less energy consumption, yet monocrystalline and good for highest efficiency.

It’s a really great technology!”

Technology

Wafers grown directly from chlorosilane

NexWafe leads the way back to profitability in solar cell production. By using EpiWafer Technology we make high-quality wafers affordable for high efficiency cell process.

The direct and rapid way

We use chemical vapour-phase epitaxy for producing monocrystalline n-type silicon wafers for highly efficient solar cells. Direct epitaxial growth from gaseous source material eliminates five cost-intensive production steps of conventional wafer production:

  • no polysilicon production
  • no Cz ingot pulling
  • no cropping and squaring
  • no grinding
  • no wire sawing

Three steps to the goal

  1. First a very thin release layer is produced on top of a re-usable Si seed wafer – a proprietary in-line process which is suitable for mass production.
  2. Subsequently a silicon layer is epitaxially grown in a patent protected high-throughput deposition system based on atmospheric pressure CVD at T>1000°C.
  3. Finally the epitaxially grown wafer is mechanically detached from the seed wafer which is then reused.

Process without standstill

In order to realize mass production of EpiWafers we use a highly productive reactor that was developed by the founder, Stefan Reber, and his team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). The facility and technology are aimed at consistently eliminating previous cost drivers:

  • reduced investment costs
  • less complex production
  • very high throughput inline processing
  • no material losses through mechanical finishing 
  • huge reductions in energy consumption

01 Release layer

In-line release layer formation and equipment for mass production in contrast to slow single wafer processing

02 Epitaxy

High-throughput patent-protected silicon deposition tool and process

03 Detachment

Free-standing silicon wafer – no need for temporary substrates in subsequent cell processing steps

04 Kerfless SI Wafer

Low cost, high efficiency wafer.
True drop-­in replacement for Cz silicon wafers

Product

The reinvention of silicon wafers

Uncompromised reliability and quality at low cost – NexWafe’s EpiWafer technology will write the next chapter of the silicon success story.

High quality. Low cost.

We reduces prices of wafers by:

  • saving 60 percent of silicon by our saw-free manufacturing processes*
  • lowering energy consumption during manufacturing up to 80 percent*
  • providing 70 percent less investment costs*
  • realizing a scrap-free production

*in comparison to conventional wafer production

Reliability guaranteed

NexWafe guarantees premium quality:

  • high quality wafer for high efficiency solar cells 
  • standard wafer sizes that can be used as drop-in replacements in today’s and tomorrow’s solar cell and module production
  • wafer thickness ranging from standard thickness down to 80 µm
  • perfectly full-square wafers for high module packing densities
  • extremely narrow resistivity distribution
  • no light-induced degradation (LID)
  • 100 percent “Made in Germany”
  • worldwide availability

“Knowing that the standard cut wafer is at its end of cost reduction potential the consequence is quickly drawn:

it’s time for a technological change.”

Benefits

Go ahead – take the next step!

NexWafe’s high quality drop-in EpiWafer provides opportunities for significant cost reductions – without any investments on your part.

Changing economies

EpiWafer Technology, commercialized by NexWafe, opens the doors to an avalanche breakthrough of novel high-efficiency concepts. We enable further cost savings on module and PV system level by making higher module efficiencies cost-competitive to lower efficiency standard technology.

Your advantages at a glance

Kerfless Wafer Technology is the superior solution – technically as well as economically:

  • drop-in replacements for Cz silicon wafers in solar production
  • wafer thickness and resistivity tailored to customer requirements
  • Made in Germany
  • worldwide availability

A partner who thinks ahead

We are innovation. Whether you need reliable wafers for your current production or high-end material for tomorrow’s cell concepts – we understand your needs and will use our full competence to make your ambitious goals come true.

“Making great products out of great ideas needs a great team.

Our team has everything you need: passion, brilliance, experience and fun. Fun at work makes the best products.”

Team

NexWafe is home to experts with a partner-oriented approach. They pursue their goals with a great deal of passion, energy and joy: Increased competitive advantages for the solar energy sector.

Dr. Davor Sutija

Davor Sutija, PhD

Dr. Davor Sutija – CEO

  • Davor Sutija has joined the company in time to assist with NexWafe’s anticipated capital raise. Davor is an experienced executive with a focus on commercializing technology through new product introduction and international go-to-market execution.
  • Davor Sutija was co-founder and CEO of SiNor AS, together with Alf Bjørseth and Reidar Langmo. SiNor, the sister company of ScanWafer in REC, produced single crystal Si ingots for photovoltaic applications and arsenic-doped n-type ingots for discrete electronics. After REC, SiNor continued operations as Norwegian Crystals.
  • Davor has nine years of experience as a public market CEO from Thinfilm, which pioneered NFC mobile marketing solutions using printed electronics. Under his leadership, Thinfilm received the 2012 CNN/Time World Technology Award, the Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award, as well as the 2018 Printed Electronics Manufacturing Award, and was awarded an invited keynote at Moble World Congress 2015. Prior to Thinfilm, Davor was SVP Enterprise Products at FAST, when it was acquired by Microsoft for 1.3 Billion USD.
  • Dr. Sutija serves on the KLA Orbotech Advisory Board, and has been non-executive director at technology companies Cegal, SensoNor, Comperio, Owera, and Birdstep.
  • Dr. Sutija is a graduate of the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology program at Wharton, and holds M.S./Ph.D. Chemical Engineering degrees from UC Berkeley, where he was a Hertz Foundation Fellow.

Dr. Frank Siebke

Dr. Frank Siebke

Dr. Frank Siebke – Chief Financial Officer and Founder

Frank has many decades of experience in international operational and venture capital projects. As CTO and Investment Director at Good Energies, Frank invested in PV companies across Europe as well as in Israel, North America and China. Frank has held positions as a board member and board observer at several companies.

Before joining Good Energies, Frank held senior management positions in the PV industry at RWE Schott Solar, Schott Glas and Shell Solar where he successfully launched some new business areas. He worked as a researcher and development engineer at the Research Center Jülich and Sanyo Electric in Osaka.

Frank is a qualified physicist and has a Ph.D. in Science from RWTH Aachen, Germany. He also studied business administration and total quality management.

Karl Friedrich Haarburger

Karl Friedrich Haarburger

Karl Friedrich Haarburger – Chief Operating Officer

Chemical Engineer with a focus on operation and industrialization of innovative technologies. Karl Friedrich has more than 15 years of track record in highly automated PV manufacturing. As a COO at Shell Solar and as COO / VP Industrial Operations at Concentrix / Soitec Solar he built the most modern mass production facilities for silicon solar cells and for CPV modules from scratch. Realizing factories in Gelsenkirchen and Freiburg, Germany, and San Diego, USA, Karl Friedrich managed budgets of € 300 million.

Before entering into PV manufacturing business, he was an operations manager in the chemical industry, leading a production site with hundreds of tons of chemicals and related high safety and quality requirements.

Karl Friedrich received a diploma as a chemical engineer at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, Germany.

Dr. Dirk Habermann

Dr. Dirk Habermann

Dr. Dirk Habermann – Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Habermann most recently served as a consultant at H2GEMINI Technology Consulting GmbH in Switzerland. H2GEMINI develops and markets technology solutions largely in photovoltaics where he has been a driving force in the industry in the change to higher efficiency cell technologies – in particular Heterojunctions.

Prior to H2GEMINI, Dirk was Chief Innovation Officer and CTO at Switzerland-based Meyer Burger Technology AG, a leading photovoltaic company, after being elevated from his role as head of process, material and line design. Other industry roles he has held include VP of R&D at the Schmid Group, Technical Director of SCHMID Technology Systems GmbH, and Process Manager at RENA GmbH. Prior to working in the photovoltaics industry, Dr. Habermann worked as a consultant to electronics companies while also serving as an assistant professor in Experimental Physics at the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg.

“A good technology, an open market and strong partner, that’s all you need for success.”

News & Jobs

Process and Equipment Engineer Backend (m/f/d)
Get more information and become part of the NexWafe team >

Your attractive employer

NexWafe GmbH as employer
Hans-Bunte-Strasse 19, 79108 Freiburg

NexWafe was founded in 2015 as a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. The company is based in Freiburg im Breisgau in the southwest of Germany. With our products we address the dynamically growing market for high-quality silicon wafers for the solar industry. The "EpiWafer" technology developed by us produces high-quality monocrystalline silicon wafers using an innovative, continuous deposition process. This enables us to reduce material losses during production by 90% and cut energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 50%. We are thus making an important contribution to reducing costs and to the further spread of environmentally friendly solar energy. We are currently operating a pilot plant at our Freiburg site and are preparing for rapid entry into mass production. We stand for innovative ideas and highest quality.

Our vision
Climate change is certainly the greatest challenge facing humanity to date. To stop climate change, we must accelerate the energy revolution. Renewable energies, above all photovoltaics, i.e. electricity from sunlight, must replace fossil fuels. Hundreds of thousands of PV power plants already generate valuable solar electricity worldwide. To make solar energy THE energy source of the future worldwide, further innovations are needed to further reduce the cost of solar power. We have set out to radically simplify the production of the central building blocks of a PV power plant, the thin slices of silicon, or wafers in the technical jargon, and to enable power plants with the highest efficiencies. We are thus making an important contribution to making climate-friendly and CO2-neutral electricity affordable all over the world.

NexWafe as employer - a good decision
We are a young company, which is characterized by employees who are highly motivated and committed to our corporate goals. We cultivate a friendly and appreciative cooperation. High social competence characterizes our daily work. Thus we create the basis for our corporate success. As a team, we will also master future challenges and become the heart of a new solar industry in Europe.

Team Spirit
Our team shares the enthusiasm to actively drive the energy turnaround All employees can actively shape the future of NexWafe. A flat hierarchy, direct communication and simple, fast decision-making processes help us to do this. It is important to us that all team members are appreciated and that their ideas and suggestions are taken up and implemented. Fair play is very important to us - not only at work but also when it comes to bowling, bowling, karting or in the Lasertag Arena.

Employee participation
Only together can we achieve our goals and be successful. Therefore, all our employees participate in the success of the company.

Become part of the NexWafe team

Dec 2020
Process and Equipment Engineer Backend (m/f/d)
Based on a good know how about materials, mechanical engineering and the requirements of silicon wafer, the process and equipment engineer backend is responsible for the mechanical processing of wafers in the "back-end".
(Download | EN | 602 KB)
(Download | DE | 520 KB)

News

Apr 2021
NexWafe Names New CTO to Bring its Green Silicon Photovoltaic Technology from Pilot Prototyping to Production
(Download | EN | 90 KB)

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Mar 2021
Spin-off NexWafe wins Fraunhofer Founder Award 2020
(Download | EN | 1 MB)
(Download | DE | 1 MB)

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Feb 4th 2021
NexWafe GmbH Lands €10 Million Funding Round, Aims to Cut Solar Production Costs by 30%, Reduce CO2 Emissions by 70%
(Download | EN | 155 KB)

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Aug 2020
NexWafe strengthens management with new CEO
(Download | EN | 633 KB)
(Download | DE | 635 KB)

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Jul 2019
NexWafe GmbH receives the Baden-Württemberg Environmental Technology Award-Umwelttechnikpreis
(Download | EN | 261 KB)
Video: vimeo.com
Source: um.baden-wuerttemberg.de
Badische Zeitung

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Feb 2019
Wermuth Asset Management's GGF2 Doubles Investment in Solar PV Wafer technology disruptor, NexWafe
(Download | EN | 418 KB)
(Download | DE | 418 KB)

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Nov 2018
NexWafe GmbH Appoints Peter Pauli as New Chairman of the Board
(Download | EN | 137 KB)
(Download | DE | 158 KB)

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Jun 2018
Chemiepark Bitterfeld-Wolfen GmbH invests in NexWafe GmbH
(Download | EN | 119 KB)
(Download | DE | 194 KB)

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Dez 2017 | NexWafe GmbH Closes EUR 8 Million Financing

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Dez 7, 2016 | NexWafe wins EVC Award

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March 7, 2016 | NexWafe GmbH Completed Series A Financing with €6M Investment from Lynwood (Schweiz) AG

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Sept. 14, 2015 | 20 % Efficient Solar Cell on EpiWafer

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June 15, 2015 | NexWafe GmbH – Fraunhofer ISE Starts a New Spin-Off Company

Press review

eejournal
NexWafe Expands Board to Broaden Global Delivery of Green Silicon Wafer Technology
eejournal
Download Press Release (DOC)

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businesswire
NexWafe GmbH Lands €10 Million Funding Round, Aims to Cut Solar Production Costs by 30%, Reduce CO2 Emissions by 70%
businesswire

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pv magazine
The weekend read: Something truly new
pv magazie

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pv magazine
pv magazine top innovation: Nexwafe plant eine Disruption in der Photovoltaik-Lieferkette
pv magazie

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Strom-Forschung.de
Gigawattfabrik in Bitterfeld geplant
Herausgeber: Projektträger Jülich
Portal: Strom-Forschung.de

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UmweltMagazin
Die Revolution der Siliziumwafer-Herstellung
Die junge Freiburger Firma NexWafe revolutioniert die Herstellung von Siliziumwafern für die Photovoltaik und revitalisiert die in Deutschland für ausgestorben geglaubte Solarindustrie.
(Download | DE | 5 MB)
Quelle: www.umweltmagazin.de

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pv magazine
NexWafe GmbH appoints Peter Pauli as new chairman of the board
pv magazie (EN)
pv magazie (DE)

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pv magazine
NexWafe announces 250 MW “disruptive” kerfless wafer factory in Bitterfeld, Germany
pv magazine

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Mitteldeutsche Zeitung
Rückkehr der Solarindustrie?
Seite 9 (Download | DE | 732 KB)
Seite 21 (Download | DE | 120 KB)

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Bild der Wissenschaft (german)
Solarzellen: Wachsen lassen statt sägen
Bild der Wissenschaft

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pv magazine
NexWafe plans 250 MWp kerfless wafer production
pv magazine

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Badische Zeitung (german)
ISE-Forscher gründen neues Unternehmen
Badische Zeitung (DE)