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Linde supports the PV industry to reduce carbon footprint of solar cells


Munich, Germany – In a run up to the largest Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, is encouraging the thin-film PV industry to shift focus from grid parity to green parity. As the world tackles climate change and solar energy approaches grid parity, Linde believes the PV industry should begin to address the carbon footprint of PV module manufacturing to deliver truly green energy.

In a bid to reduce production costs, manufacturers must not be tempted to adopt lower cost solutions without considering the overall impact on the long term sustainability of the PV industry. Based on work by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the payback time for both crystalline silicon cells and thin-film silicon modules, in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions, is between three to four years, with an aggressive target for thin-film of one year payback.

Linde is reviewing the entire thin-film manufacturing and supply chain from a materials perspective and has identified the possibility of significant CO2-eq. emission savings in the PECVD chamber cleaning process, by using fluorine in place of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 17,200 times that of CO2. By changing from NF3 to F2 alone, Linde estimates that the CO2 payback time for thin-film PV modules can be cut significantly, by as much as two years.

Dean O’Connor, Head of Electronics Market Development & Technology at Linde Gases Division, said: “Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. As grid parity becomes ever closer to a reality, we as an industry need to start channelling our efforts towards reducing the carbon footprint of solar cell manufacturing. Environmental concerns continue to dominate the global agenda so green parity is an inevitable important new area of focus for suppliers and manufacturers.”

At the 24th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference in Hamburg (21-25 September), Linde Gases Division is bringing together industry experts from M+W Zander, Oerlikon, Suniva, Malibu, EuPD Research, to host a seminar: “From grid parity to green parity – sustainability in an era of overwhelming cost pressure”. By considering aspects of PV fab design, as well as equipment and materials selection, Linde will explore methods to improve sustainability in manufacturing. Case studies from current cell and module makers will also be featured for discussion. The seminar will be held on Thursday, 24th September (14.30 – 17.45 CET) at the CCH Congress Centre, Hamburg.

Pioneering the European electronics industry’s efforts for the sustainable manufacturing of thin-film PV and semiconductors, Linde is already supplying on-site fluorine generation technology to STMicroelectronics and Malibu and has more than 25 installations worldwide.

Linde has established a leading position in gas and chemical supply to thin-film Si solar cell manufacturers, supplying more than half of all the industry projects, and a strong position in Crystalline Silicon with nearly 40 percent market share. Linde is in a leading position in key markets such as Germany, Spain, China, Taiwan and India.

About The Linde Group
The Linde Gases Division, part of The Linde Group, is a leader in the international industrial and healthcare gases markets, providing compressed, bulk, specialty and medical gases, as well as chemicals to virtually all fields of industry globally. The company adds value to its customers’ businesses through the provision of state-of-the-art application technology, process know-how, services and equipment.

The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 50,000 employees working in around 100 countries worldwide. In the 2008 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 12.7 billion. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards earnings-based and sustainable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.

Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.

For more information, see The Linde Group web site at


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