Freiburg, Germany-based NexWafe, a company that produces high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers, has raised €10M in its Series B round of funding.
In electronics, a wafer (also called a slice or substrate) is a thin slice of semiconductor, such as crystalline silicon (c-Si), used for the fabrication of integrated circuits and, in photovoltaics, to manufacture solar cells. The wafer serves as the substrate for microelectronic devices built in and upon the wafer.
Investors in this round
The current round saw participation from investors including Fraunhofer, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, GAP Technology Holding, Lynwood Schweiz AG, and Bantina Invest Limited.
Use of the funds
The raised capital will enable NexWafe to further industrialise its green high-efficiency solar wafer technology, “EpiNex”, and begin its pilot manufacturing activities. The company is also looking for potential partners to commercialise the technology.
To make this happen, NexWafe’s CEO, Davor Sutija will be leading this development. He was appointed to his position in September 2020.
What has NexWafe built?
The company was spun out from Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in 2015 by founders Frank Siebke, Kai Schillinger, Roy Segev, and Stefan Reber. NexWafe uses in-line epitaxy for the production of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon wafers.
Epitaxy refers to a type of crystal growth or material deposition in which new crystalline layers are formed with one or more well-defined orientations with respect to the crystalline substrate.
By minimising waste through its direct-gas-to-wafer manufacturing, NexWafe’s Epinex wafers are compatible with conventional solar cell and module manufacturing with a 70 per cent reduction in the carbon footprint compared to conventional wafers as well as reduces production cost by 30 per cent.
The company uses its process in which a crystalline silicon layer is deposited on a seed wafer and then detached. This produces finished wafers with optimal thinness and superior material properties. The company has a 5MW pilot production facility in Freiburg/Germany, with shipments planned to start in 2021 as well as to raise further capital to support that activity.
Bart Markus to be the new Chairman of NexWafe Board?
The company has also announced that as it meets the above-mentioned developments, Peter Pauli will step down as Chairman of the Board of Directors to devote more time to other commitments.
He will continue his association with NexWafe and remains a shareholder. Pauli says, “Helping to lead NexWafe on its transition from an academic spin-off to its emergence as a technology product company was a great honour. NexWafe’s EpiNex wafers are a key element of the future solar market, as the industry strives to meet expectations in terms of costs and PV efficiency.”
Bart Markus, a member of the Board of NexWafe since 2019, will take over as Chairman. Markus has more than two decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur and investor in high technology. He also holds an MSc in Applied Physics from the Twente University of Technology and an MBA with distinction from INSEAD.