Need for PV Cells Triggers Polysilicon Market

September 29, 2004 [] Wacker Polysilicon is expanding polysilicon production at its Burghausen site in Germany. Capacity will be ramped up in two stages of annual production. In 2006 annual production will rise by 500 metric tons, and in 2007 it will rise by an additional 1,000 metric tons. After the expansion program is complete, up to 6,500 metric tons of polysilicon will be produced annually at Burghausen. The investment, totaling EUR 75 million (US$ 92.4 million), is mainly due to increased global demand for polycrystalline silicon needed to manufacture solar cells. As a result, some 50 new jobs will be created at the Burghausen site. The expansion project aims to make available sufficient polysilicon production capacity in the mid-term. Wacker is also pursuing new ways to process PV-grade silicon crystals using granular polysilicon, which is known as the fluidized-bed process and uses trichlorosilane as a raw material. The advantages of silicon granules are not only their suitability for continuous crystallization processes, according to the company, but also their improved cost-effectiveness in the production of solar-grade silicon. The first two pilot reactors are expected to start operating in October 2004.
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