Oct 302011
 
Image representing 1366 Technologies as depict...

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Promises to drive down the cost of solar energy over the next 15 years until it is competitive with coal

M.I.T. professor Ely Sachs gave up his faculty position to go all-in on a company that he believes can make solar energy competitive with coal via smart photovoltaic manufacturing.

As a professor at M.I.T., Ely Sachs was a strong supporter of alternative energy research. How strong? Earlier this month, he gave up his tenured faculty position after 25 years. His new company, 1366 Technologies, promises to drive down the cost of solar energy over the next 15 years until it is competitive with coal.

The company specializes in making silicon crystal wafers to be used in photovoltaic cells. Speaking at the recent Technology Review Emtech conference, Sachs says he can lower costs using a new manufacturing process called “direct wafer.” Normally silicon wafers are cut from a larger piece of silicon. This wastes about half of the wafer material. Direct wafer makes individual wafers straight from molten silicon—no cutting required.

1366’s next move is to build a small manufacturing facility in Massachusetts.

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