INTRODUCING
BERT THIN FILMS

NEWS ARCHIVE

$1M + $1M = $2M FUNDING ROUND FROM EXISTING AND NEW INVESTORS

2022 January

Bert Thin Films, LLC finalizes a total of $2M in funding to start off 2022. The source of funds includes a $1M angel funding round, which was completed a few months after receiving a $1M grant from the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.  QCA was again a key investor in this round which also included Bluegrass Angels.

The UofL News article UofL solar energy startup secures $2 million in funding states:

“Silver is a huge issue for the industry because the price volatility and there may not be enough to produce the amount of solar panels needed,” said Thad Druffel, theme leader for solar manufacturing R&D at UofL’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research. “We can solve it by changing one simple ingredient.”

“We love to see UofL startups succeed, and we’re very proud of Bert Thin Films for this recent funding,” said Will Metcalf, an associate vice president for research and innovation who leads UofL New Ventures. “The technology Bert Thin Films is commercializing has the potential to make a big impact in engineering a future economy driven by new energy materials and manufacturing processes.”"

Read article at PV Magazine: Louisville startup secures $2 million funding for copper paste that may lower cost of solar

$1M DOE AWARD FROM SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGY OFFICE

2021 August

Bert Thin Films, LLC has been awarded a $1M grant from the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office. The project goal is to further de-risk the copper based paste technology developed by the team for the photovoltaic industry. 

“Investing in clean energy technologies like solar not only helps us combat climate change, it strengthens our energy and manufacturing sectors, creating good jobs while building the economy of the future. I’m so thrilled that Louisville’s own Bert Thin Films is leading the way in this industry, working to reduce costs and expand access to an inexhaustible clean energy source. I congratulate Thad and Ruvini on earning this highly sought-after Department of Energy funding to continue their great work here in Louisville,” said U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3).

PV Magazine states:  The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1 million to a company making a splash in solar manufacturing materials, providing funds to Bert Thin Films for their new copper paste material that is designed to replace expensive silver components in solar panels. 

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company has been gathering steam as they secured $1 million in funding in early 2019, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

Bert Thin Films said their paste, named CuBert, maintains the durability of silver paste, and can be seamlessly integrated into existing manufacturing processes and equipment in use today by solar panel makers. 

Read article at Louisville Business First: https://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/news/2021/08/13/bert-thin-films-doe-award.html

NSF SBIR PHASE IIB AWARD FOR ADDITIONAL $500K

2019 June

Bert Thin Films was awarded $500k to continue the development of the copper based pastes as being developed as part of the National Science Foundation SBIR program. The work will extend the technology development which includes making changes at the cell level to keep up with the rapidly changing solar cell architectures being introduced by the industry.

FUNDING ROUND OF $1M LEAD BY WELL-KNOWN OHIO ANGEL INVESTOR QCA

2019 March

Bert Thin Films has closed on a $1M seed funding round led by Queen City Angels.  QCA investments "are usually companies throughout the state of Ohio that focus on technology such as cloud-based solutions, solar, manufacturing, life sciences and biotech. The first company to receive an investment from the fund was Bert Thin Films out of Louisville, Ky."

STATE OF KENTUCKY AWARDS $250K MATCHING GRANT FOR PRODUCTION SCALING

2019 February

This $250k matching grant from the State of Kentucky will assist Bert Thin Films in scaling the production of the copper pastes for the silicon solar cell industry.

The Lane Report states: "In February 2019, 10 high-tech Kentucky companies were announced as recipients of $2.18 million in state matching funds to promote growth and job creation in high-paying research and technological fields, from disease research to water treatment. The Kentucky grants match in part the recently announced $5.1 million in federal grants the businesses will collectively receive.

The grants are part of the commonwealth’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Matching Funds program. The program, overseen by KY Innovation within the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, matches all or part of federal SBIR/STTR awards received by Kentucky-based companies or companies that commit to relocation in the state.

Three of those companies – Bert Thin Films of Louisville, Endoscopy Assist Devices of Louisville, and Liberate Medical of Crestwood – were among the high-tech winners."

NSF SBIR PHASE II AWARD OF $750K FOR COPPER PASTE METALLIZATION

2017 April

This $750k Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project aims to develop copper based pastes for the metallization of silicon solar cells. The outcomes of this proposal will be screen printable copper pastes that can be direct drop in replacement for the silver pastes; thereby enhancing the profit margins of the solar cell manufacturer.

Read the award abstract at NFS: SBIR Phase II: Low Cost Copper Contacts with Built in Barriers for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

STATE OF KENTUCKY FUNDS $100K COMMERCIAL FEASIBILITY STUDY

2015 April

This $100k matching grant from the State of Kentucky will assist Bert Thin Films in testing the commercial feasibility of copper based metallization for the solar cell industry.

The Lane Report states: "To help these companies turn their research into reality, Gov. Steve Beshear this week announced that six high-tech businesses have been awarded a total of $1 million as part of a program to support and attract technology-based small businesses to Kentucky. ..."

“These Kentucky companies are developing products and technologies that will greatly enhance life as we know it,” said Gov. Beshear. “I’m pleased that we’re able to support these innovators who also are helping create high-paying jobs throughout the Commonwealth and encourage them to keep or locate their companies right here.”

The companies receiving awards in the first quarter of 2015 include: ... 

Bert Thin Films LLC (Jefferson County): Bert Thin Films is creating cost-saving copper-based ink to replace the silver metallization pastes used in silicon solar cells."

NSF STTR PHASE I AWARDS $225K TO LOWER LEGACY MANUFACTURING COSTS

2015 January

The broader impact/commercial potential of this $225k Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will be to lower manufacturing costs in the photovoltaic (PV) industry.

Bert Thin Films LLC, a company originating from the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, has received a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and commercialize a new material to reduce the costs of manufacturing solar cells.

Read article from The Lane ReportUofL Conn Center Startup Earns $225,000 National Grant

Read the award abstract at NFS: STTR Phase I: Low Cost Copper Contacts with Built in Barriers for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells

UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE DEVELOPS CUTTING EDGE COMMERCIALIZATION TECHNOLOGY

2015 March

A University of Louisville engineering professor, Thad Druffel, PhD, and a post-doctoral researcher, Ruvini Dharmadasa, are leading a team that's developed a new approach that experts think could leapfrog existing technology and make waves in the multibillion-dollar global solar market. Read full article at Louisville Courier-Journal: Louisville Start-up Seeks Solar Cell Solution