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BioSolar execs author new alt energy paper

Focus: The paradox of petroleum use in solar power

Posted: October 6, 2009 2:50 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2009 2:50 p.m.
 
Chief Executive Officer Dr. David D. Lee and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Stanley B. Levy of Santa Clarita-based BioSolar, Inc. explore the fundamental contradiction of using petroleum-based products in the manufacturing of solar power systems in a co-authored article appearing in the October edition of AltEnergyMag.com titled, "The Solar Power Paradox: Alternative Energy Can't Run on Oil."

"As demand for alternative energy increases and green technologies progress at an unprecedented rate, the solar industry has undoubtedly taken massive strides toward making the world a greener place. The reality remains that the manufacture of PV solar modules (like many green renewable energy sources) is heavily petroleum dependent, presenting a fundamental contradiction in the green energy movement," the authors note.

"Traditional backsheets, the protective film underneath solar cells, are produced mainly from polyester and Tedlar films. Polyester is made from petroleum and Tedlar is solvent-cast using DMAC, a highly toxic industrial solvent. Both of these products defeat the purpose of clean, green energy, and as the demand for solar energy increases, so does this issue," the authors continued.

BioSolar is leading a movement to make "green" technologies more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient by developing natural, non-toxic alternatives to petroleum-based products used by solar manufacturers today.

BioSolar's proprietary line of BioBacksheets, made from renewable plant sources rather than petroleum, can meet or exceed the performance standards for the PV industry and are expected to cost less than traditional petroleum-based backsheets.

"Significant cost reduction of all PV module components is required in order to attain grid parity," the article states. "Bio-based backsheets have a definite edge over traditional backsheets because of their potential to cost less, reduce dependency on petroleum and protect the environment - a priceless benefit."

"By 2015 most solar panels will be in lower price ranges and this is when the backsheet costs become an issue... we found that no matter how green the material is, if the cost is high, it won't be successful," Lee said in a recent interview with The Solar Energy Press.

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