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Dow's Focus on Providing Sustainable Solutions, Unveils ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films

Published on 2010-08-18. Author : SpecialChem

Midland, MI -- The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is introducing ENLIGHT™ Polyolefin Encapsulant Films, which can enhance efficiencies in photovoltaic (PV) module production and lead to lower conversion costs. The films also can provide greater module stability and improved electrical performance versus traditional encapsulants, such as EVA-based products, which improves the reliability and extends the service life of PV modules. The new encapsulant films are suitable for C-Si and thin-film modules.

The new encapsulant films are the latest solutions spurred by Dow's focus on delivering sustainable solutions to address some of the world's most critical challenges - including the need for clean energy.

"ENLIGHT Polyolefin Encapsulant Films provide a number of benefits that help lower the total system costs of producing and using modules," said Brij Sinha, global business development leader for Dow's Specialty Packaging & Films business. "Customers have found the films reduce cycle times up to 30 percent and that the lamination temperature windows can be extended. The physical properties virtually eliminate bubbles, which leads to fewer rejects. Damage to equipment and modules is also markedly reduced because the process does not produce acetic acid."

Based on fully integrated polyolefin technology, these encapsulant films:
  • Can be formulated to address specific module design needs;
  • Provide Water Vapor Transmission Rates (WVTR) that can range from 10-20 times lower than EVA materials;
  • Allow excellent adhesion to glass under various lamination conditions;
  • Show no creep in use;
  • Offer a better matched refractive index to glass compared to EVA; and
  • Are listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) as "Recognized Components."

Modules made with ENLIGHT Polyolefin Encapsulant Films can retain efficiency levels after more than 10,000 hours of damp heat exposure, whereas Dow testing shows that modules made with EVA typically show a sharp drop off in efficiency levels after more than 2,000 hours in damp heat.1

The specialty films will initially be produced at Dow's manufacturing plant in Findlay, Ohio, where a state-of-the-art production line was added to address the growing demand for specialty films for use in PV modules. Commercial-scale manufacturing of ENLIGHT Polyolefin Encapsulant Films will begin on that line in the fourth quarter of 2010. Dow is pursuing a phase-in plan to upgrade production and increase capacity across the globe to address increasing demand for these differentiated encapsulants.

"Dow continues to bring high-performance products to the solar energy market, and has made a multi-million dollar investment in photovoltaic encapsulants. We are constantly innovating to help customers improve conversion efficiencies and extend the reliability and longevity of both rigid and flexible photovoltaic modules," Sinha said.

This latest encapsulant joins the ENLIGHT™ family of encapsulants, metallization, imaging, cleaning and texturizing materials sold to the photovoltaic market worldwide. Dow is developing a wide range of technologies to address the needs of PV module manufacturers, including films, resins, adhesives, and electronic materials. These include ADCOTE™ Solvent-Based Adhesives, MOR-FREE™ Solventless Adhesives and ENLIGHT™ Liquid Encapsulants for flexible modules. Dow will showcase its entire line of products for PV manufacturers at this year's 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (PVSEC) in Valencia, Spain (stand L3/H4/B4, Hall 4, Feria Valencia).

About Dow

Dow combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element" to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2009, Dow had annual sales of $45 billion and employed approximately 52,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 214 sites in 37 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.

Source: Dow Chemical Company

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