Cyrium Technologies Inc.

Cyrium Technologies Inc.

May 21, 2009 12:00 ET

Cyrium Technologies' Multi-Junction Solar Cells Offer Industry-Leading Performance; Helping to Move Cost of Renewable Solar Energy Toward Grid Parity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 21, 2009) - Cyrium Technologies Inc., a designer and manufacturer of high efficiency photovoltaic solar cells, announced today that multi-junction solar cells produced by the company now exceed the performance of all commercially manufactured solar cells.

"Cyrium is pleased to set new performance standards for the solar cell suppliers to the Concentrator PhotoVoltaic (CPV) industry," said Dr. Simon Fafard, founder and CTO of Cyrium Technologies. "We believe the exceptional performance of our 10mm square cell will enhance CPV's business case and is a key to moving the cost of renewable solar energy toward grid parity."

Cyrium's first generation solar cells offer efficiencies of 40 per cent or higher together with a nearly constant conversion efficiency for solar concentrations from 200 to greater than 1000 suns. This performance sets a new standard for the solar cells' intended use in the Concentrator PhotoVoltaic (CPV) industry. The CPV industry uses lenses and mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy by 500 to 1000 times, allowing a relatively small area of solar cells to generate megawatts of electricity.

Fafard added, "The most outstanding feature of Cyrium's approach is an optimized design for multi-junction cells that does not add complexity or cost. These super-efficient cells employ Cyrium's unique quantum dot technology to modify the internal structure of the semiconductor material creating improved efficiencies over conventional multi-junction or other manufacturing techniques."

Cyrium anticipates its second generation product will reach 43 per cent efficiency within one year and third generation products are targeted to be at 45 per cent within two years. The company is proceeding with small volume manufacturing and qualification of its current generation of solar cell products.

Cyrium's solar cells are now available to qualified CPV clients for evaluation.

About Cyrium Technologies

Cyrium Technologies, headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, is developing breakthrough technology that significantly increases photovoltaic solar cell efficiency over state-of-the-art products. The company is privately-held and received its first venture capital funding in 2004. Cyrium's strategy is to become a leader in the design and production of high efficiency photovoltaic solar cells.

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Cyrium Technology Background and FAQ

What is unique about Cyrium's solar cells?

Cyrium's solar cells not only have record efficiencies, but they exhibit nearly constant efficiency over solar intensities varying from 200 to 1000 suns. Other multi-junction solar cell technologies typically peak at some sun concentration value and decline quickly (efficiency roll off) with increasing concentration. Solar cells with high roll-off have limitations commercially because CPV manufacturers typically require the efficiency to be highest at 500 sun concentration or greater. Another benefit of the very low roll-off feature of Cyrium's cells is that CPV systems often have a variable intensity profile when the sun is focussed on an array of cells so that cells need to perform even when the peak concentration is two to three times higher than the nominal concentration.

Cyrium's technological achievements include reduced series resistance and cell sizes that are optimum for most efficient commercial use. The CPV industry uses solar cells that are typically 5 to 10 mm on a side. Many claims for superior performance have been made on behalf of tiny cells sized in the range of one millimetre or so that are not necessarily practical for real CPV applications.

It is important to point out that these cells are not special constructs from a Research and Development Laboratory. They are produced on standard semiconductor manufacturing equipment at selected commercial suppliers.

Is the greater than 40% quoted efficiency real and accurate?

It is as real and accurate as we can measure it and these efficiencies have been validated by sample testing at potential clients. We have used the best available measurement equipment and we are confident that these measurements are as accurate as current technology permits. In fact we have measured cells with efficiencies of 42% but we have chosen to quote a lower number to be conservative and to be representative of the average cell capability. In any type of semiconductor production there is an inherent variability in devices produced and it is not our practice to base our efficiency claims on a few "champion cells".

Why does a few percent in efficiency make a difference to the CPV industry?

Our understanding of the economics of the CPV industry is that a 1% increase in efficiency improves the overall return on investment for a CPV operator by three to six percent. That suggests that Cyrium's super efficient cells will significantly improve the economics of the CPV industry given that current commercial cell efficiencies average about 37%.

How much do your solar cells cost?

Cyrium expects to be competitively priced to incumbent suppliers. We are making these cells in small quantities on production equipment at selected commercial contract semiconductor manufacturers. We are currently negotiating with suppliers for volume production pricing.

Who is Cyrium Technologies Inc.?

Cyrium is a Canadian Incorporated Company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. The company is backed by private and venture capital investors including the Business Development Bank, Pangaea Ventures, Chrysalix Energy and the Quercus trust.

How is Cyrium financed?

More than 90% of Cyrium's financing has come from private and venture capital investors and generally available research tax credits. Cyrium has sufficient financing for operations and small scale production over the next two years.

Contact Information

  • Cyrium Technologies Inc.
    Dr. Simon Fafard
    Founder and CTO
    613 482 3365 Ext 223
    Cyrium Technologies Inc.
    Barry Turner
    Chairman and CEO
    613 482 3365 Ext 222