Not all wafer margins are thin ones – as the flourishing Freiburg start-up NexWafe knows.
The company was founded in 2015 by experts formerly associated with the Fraunhofer research institute and other prestigious institutions. It specializes in the monocrystalline silicon wafers used in solar cells.
NexWafe produces wafers with virtually no waste, known as ‘kerf.’ The wafers account for around 40 percent of the cost of solar modules, and NexWafe believes it will be able to dramatically undercut the competition in terms of price.
The new wafers are produced using chemical vapor-phase epitaxy rather than the conventional method. Early demonstrations of the product have convinced stakeholders of its effectiveness. NexWafe was named one of the 40 best European high-tech start-ups at the 2017 HighTech Venture Days exhibition in Dresden, and received the Baden-Württemberg Environmental Technology Award in 2019.