IBM Invents Method to Turn Waste Silicon Wafers into Solar Panels
October 30, 2007 4:25 PM
comment(s) - last by
IMB Process Turns Scrap Silicon Wafers into Solar Cells
IBM reclaims junk silicon for solar panels
We all use items every day that have components that start as silicon wafers – items ranging from our computers and cell phones to our digital cameras. What many don’t know is the sheer volume of silicon wafers that are started in production each day and end up being discarded.
IBM says these discarded wafers were traditionally ground up and thrown into landfills or melted down and resold because of the intellectual property on the wafers, which kept them from being able to be resold outside the company.
IBM announced today a new process that it invented to take discarded silicon wafers and reclaim them
specifically to be sold to the solar cell manufacturing industry. The new reclamation process involves taking etched silicon wafers that are discarded and using a polish wheel/compound along with de-ionized water to remove all of the intellectual property from the surface of the wafer. The process does not damage the silicon underneath.
This new process is revolutionary won IBM the “2007 Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award” from The National Pollution Prevention Program. IBM says that worldwide about 250,000 silicon wafers are started each day and that up to 3.3 percent of these wafers end up being discarded amounting to about three million discarded wafers each year.
In addition to merely saving the material and time used in the manufacturing of the reclaimed silicon wafers, IBM says that it sees an overall 90 percent energy savings because repurposing the scrap means IBM doesn’t have to manufacture as many new wafers to meet demands of its production process.
Companies that buy the repurposed wafers can save 30 to 90 percent of the energy normally needed if they used new silicon material as the source. Using this new process IBM was able to save more than $500,000 USD in 2006 and ongoing savings for 2007 will be near $1.5 million USD.
Solar panel manufacturers are also excited about this new process, "One of the challenges facing the solar industry is a severe shortage of silicon, which threatens to stall its rapid growth,” said Charles Bai, CFO of ReneSola, one of China's fastest growing solar energy companies. "This is why we have turned to reclaimed silicon materials sourced primarily from the semiconductor industry to supply the raw material our company needs to manufacture solar panels."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: How come?
10/30/2007 7:13:06 PM
who doesn't wear sunglasses in side now a days????
Anyways this is a awesome step for IBM to maybe be the bigger person and step forward into tomorrow instead of staying into today where so much goes to waste...
RE: How come?
10/30/2007 11:33:19 PM
I wear my sunglasses at night... gotta love the 80's
I guess their sunglasses go with the story on Solar panels from bad chips.
RE: How come?
10/31/2007 10:29:10 AM
Don't be fooled... they are both Terminators sent here from the future by AlGoreNet
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
Quick Note: QNAP Announces $129 QGenie 7-in-1 NAS for Mobile Users
July 14, 2014, 9:32 AM
Apple Launches 21.5” iMac with 1.4GHz Core i5 Processor Priced at $1,099
June 18, 2014, 8:07 AM
Lowe's "Holoroom" Brings Holodeck, Home Improvement Dreams Closer to Reality
June 13, 2014, 9:06 AM
Intel to Broaden Market for Fanless Tablets, Ultrabooks with 14nm Intel Core M
June 3, 2014, 10:42 AM
ZOTAC Announces Four New Silent ZBOX Mini-PCs
June 2, 2014, 9:21 AM
ZOTAC Announces Funky ZBOX Sphere OI520 Series
May 22, 2014, 8:20 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Kills Entertainment Unit, May Shelve Flagship Lumia "McLaren"
July 18, 2014, 7:40 PM
Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 Crashes in Ukraine
July 17, 2014, 1:00 PM
Google Signs Controversial Deal With Pharmaceutical Giant Novartis
July 16, 2014, 7:32 PM
Toyota Scientist: Autonomous Vehicles May Lead to Increased Fuel Consumption, Pollution
July 18, 2014, 2:42 PM
JJ Abrams Unveils X-Wing Starfighter for New "Star Wars" Movie
July 21, 2014, 12:24 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information