Silicon Recycling Supports German Raw Material Supply

Deutsche Solar AG, a subsidiary of SolarWorld AG, has completed construction of its Euro 5 Million [~US$6.3 million] building for the generation of silicon for the photovoltaic (PV) market. The company, which relies on the use of internally recycled silicon in its production, now has two factories that accommodate raw material processing and the entire recycling function.

“With our new building we will be able to process 1,200 t of silicon annually as of the fourth quarter 2006, which is twice the volume of last year,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Woditsch, management spokesman of Deutsche Solar AG. With this expansion and the use of new technologies, Deutsche Solar AG’s Solar Material division can upgrade previously unusable silicon grades for solar industry applications. “These are, for example, byproducts from the semi-conductor industry whose processing has so far not been an economically viable proposition,” said Dr. Karsten Wambach, manager of Deutsche Solar AG’s Solar Material division. Up to 20 percent of the group’s entire raw material needs can be covered by these secondary raw materials. Another 20 percent come from the internal recycling of silicon cuttings generated in the group’s own wafer production. “The entire raw material recycling has thus become a main pillar of our raw material supply,” said Woditsch. “After doubling our capacity we will make our competences in silicon processing also available as a service to external customers as of the fourth quarter,” said Wambach about the Freiberg facility. In addition, since the Solar Material division offers the recycling of solar cells and solar modules on the basis of a technology developed in-house, the group is now represented along the entire solar value chain — both in new production and in recycling.

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