RAG Subsidiary Degussa Enter into Long-Term Supply Agreement for Chlorosilanes
Düsseldorf-based Degussa GmbH, and Erfurt-based PV Silicon Forschungs- und Produktions AG, a subsidiary of PV Crystalox Solar AG, have signed a ten-year agreement for the supply of chlorosilanes. PV Silicon is building a production plant for photovoltaic silicon in Bitterfeld Chemical Park, one of Europe’s largest chemical sites. It uses this polysilicon for manufacturing polycrystalline wafers for solar cells. From its local plant, Degussa will in the future supply the new production plant with Siridion® chlorosilanes* ,Degussa is the world’s largest producer of ultrapure chlorosilanes, which are used as raw materials in the production of polysilicon.
“Limited stocks of fossil energy sources have led us to focus increasingly on alternative sources of energy,” says Dr. Klaus Engel, chairman of the Management Board of Degussa GmbH. “And one of the most attractive growth markets for us is photovoltaic. Here we’re consistently stepping up our commitment.”
The PV Silicon plant will come onstream in 2009 and have a capacity of 1,800 metric tons per annum. The capacity could be tripled if required, depending on market developments. The so-called fence-to-fence production with Degussa at the Bitterfeld site considerably simplifies the supply and handling of chlorosilanes and the by-products obtained in the process. “Fence-to-fence” signifies pipeline businesses in which plants are situated near the customer’s production site and material streams can be directly exchanged. The world’s leading specialty chemicals company is expanding its chlorosilane capacities at the Bitterfeld site to supply PV Silicon.
Firmly dedicated to the photovoltaics growth market
In April this year, Degussa signed a memorandum of understanding with Silicium de Provence (Silpro) to build an integrated production facility for ultrapure polysilicon. On Silpro’s premises in Saint Auban, France, ultrapure polysilicon will be manufactured by means of the Siemens process. Degussa plans to build a chlorosilane production facility there, from where Silpro will be supplied with the ultrapure raw material Siridion® chlorosilane.
For photovoltaics, that is, the technology whereby sunlight is converted to electricity, experts are predicting double-digit growth rates over the next few years. The specialty chemicals group has been active in this attractive growth market for many years; as early as 2002, for example, Degussa established the joint venture Joint Solar Silicon GmbH & Co. KG with SolarWorld, Bonn. The joint venture is headquartered in Freiberg, Saxony, and will in the future operate a plant at Degussa’s Rheinfelden site for production of solar silicon from monosilane. Production by means of a novel process will start next year, with an initial capacity of 850 metric tons of solar silicon per year. The SolarWorld Group will use this to manufacture solar silicon wafers, which will be further processed into solar cells and modules.
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