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It has been suggested that the projected energy crisis might, at least in part, be met by building large terrestrial solar power stations. The purpose of this programme is to provide data to determ...ine the feasibility of this suggestion when using the current technology for producing silicon photovoltaic cells. In the programme we examine in detail the manufacturing process used by Ferranti to make silicon solar cells for satellite applications. We then consider how the enormous scale and reduced cell specifications needed for terrestrial power stations might reduce the cost of the product.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: TS251, An introduction to materials
Item code: TS251; 09
First transmission date: 26-05-1973
Published: 1973
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:05
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Producer: Barrie Whatley
Contributors: David Blackburn; Peter Reynolds
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Energy crisis; Ferranti; Production costs; Satellite; Silicon photovoltaic cells; Solar power stations
Footage description: Shot of a landscape at dawn. Shots of a silicon solar cell. Animated cartoon shows space satellite in orbit. Shots of solar powered satellites during manufacture. Commentary by David Blackburn introduces the programme. He briefly discusses the satellite applications for solar cells. Aerial shot of Ferranti Opto-Electronics plant. Shots of the manufacturing process for a satellite solar cell. Shots of a solar cell at each stage of manufacture, Blackburn now examines the process in detail. Shots of silicon raw material being used to grow single crystals of silicon. Shots of silicon crystals being sliced and polished. Both mechanical and chemical polishing processes are shown. Shots of the phosphorus diffusion process by which the N on P junction of the solar cell is formed on the slice. Diffusion is done in ovens. Blackburn describes the properties required of the metal contacts in the solar cell. Shots of a solar cell with contacts in place. Peter Reynolds, product manager Ferranti Opto- Electronics, explains the problems involved in getting good metal contact in solar cells designed for extra-terrestrial use. Shots of the photographic masking technigue which is used to obtain very thin metal fingers for electrical contacts in the solar cell. Commentary by Blackburn explains the process. Shots of the electro-chemical and electro plating processes which fill the mask and so form the metal contact fingers. Commentary by Reynolds and Blackburn explains the processes. Animated diagrams are used as aids. P. Reynolds explains why rectangular or square solar cells are used in satellites. Shots of solar cells being cut to shape. Shots of the process which covers the solar cell with a coating of titanium oxide. Commentary by Blackburn describes the process. Peter Reynolds discusses some of the modifications in manufacturing techniques and design which produce solar cells for terrestrial use. Shot of a terrestrial solar cell panel. Shots of the Aswan Dam. Blackburn discusses the costs of producing solar cells on the enormous scale required to produce power equivalent to that produced by the Aswan Dam. Blackburn examines ways in which the present production processes could be modified to produce cells in large quantities and at economic prices. Shots of the present manufacturing process at Ferranti Opto-Electronics while he talks. Blackburn discusses the high cost of producing silicon crystals and its prohibiting influence on mass production of silicon based solar cells.
Master spool number: 6HT/71049
Production number: 00525_5035
Videofinder number: 1561
Available to public: no