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
10/30/2007 11:05:59 PM
IBM's research team is f*****g great!
I found them to be the most innovative and resourceful IT industry there is out there. The more time passes by, the more they show their core business revolves around research and "discovery" more than just getting a better market share while taking the least possible risk.
Where would the IT be without IBM?
10/31/2007 4:11:43 AM
Didn't I read somewhere that IBM was responsible for the most patents in 2006?
10/31/2007 7:32:14 AM
IBM has consistantly held the title of the company being granted the most patents year after year. As memory serves, something like 17 out of the last 20 years.
Sorry, but I'm too lazy to actually look up the exact numbers.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
Hackers Steal Roughly $1 Billion From Banks Using Malware RAT
February 17, 2015, 9:30 AM
NVIDIA Kills Mobile GPU Overclocking, Robs Customers Who Paid For It
February 16, 2015, 8:59 AM
Apple Offers Refurbished 5K Retina iMacs for $2,119 Online
January 16, 2015, 12:37 PM
SanDisk Unveils Pricey iXpand USB 2.0/Lightning Drive to Expand iPhone, iPad Storage
November 13, 2014, 2:29 PM
HP's 15.6" Omen Gaming Laptop is Incredibly Thin, Powerful
November 4, 2014, 10:34 AM
Tim Cook Touts Apple’s Product Portfolio, Performance in Letter to Employees
October 21, 2014, 8:05 AM
Most Popular Articles
Google Steps up Snub of Adobe Flash, Auto-Converting Flash Ads to HTML5
February 25, 2015, 6:16 PM
HTC's Sense UI is Garbage: A Tale of Disappearing Keyboards and Desperate Fixes
February 24, 2015, 11:00 AM
StarDock Unveils Start10 Start Menu Replacement for Windows 10
February 25, 2015, 11:24 AM
FCC Bans Data Discrimination, Defies Comcast, Adopting Net Neutrality Regulation
February 26, 2015, 4:03 PM
Cool Nature Video: Crazy Coconut Octopus Braves Dry Land to Capture Crab
February 24, 2015, 4:18 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information