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Comment Business & Economics

Wacker expands polysilicon production

By Dorothy Lozowski |

Wacker Chemie AG (Munich, Germany) plans to construct a new polysilicon production plant at its Nunchritz site (Saxony, Germany) with a nominal annual capacity of 10,000 metric tons (m.t.). The first batch of polysilicon from this “capacity expansion phase 9” project is scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. The new plant is expected to achieve full capacity by the end of 2011. Wacker has budgeted some €760 million for this project. The company has additionally decided to raise the nominal capacity planned for Burghausen’s “expansion phase 8”(currently under construction) from 7,000 to 10,000 m.t./yr. Thanks to these and other ongoing expansion measures, Wacker’s polysilicon capacity by year-end 2011 will reach 35,500 m.t./yr, compared to today’s 10,000 m.t. Output expansion will enable Wacker to meet the accelerating global demand it expects for hyperpure polycrystalline silicon. For the coming years, Wacker anticipates continued double-digit annual growth in polysilicon demand by the solar industry. The company also expects higher polysilicon demand from the electronics industry.
“We expect crystalline solar technology to show continued strong growth and customer demand for polysilicon to remain high,” said Dr. Rudolf Staudigl, CEO of Wacker Chemie AG. “Already the world’s second-largest polysilicon producer, we intend to reinforce and extend our market position by intensifying capacity expansion. Nunchritz’s highly advanced infrastructure and integrated production loops make it the logical choice for this expansion from a business and technical viewpoint.” According to the CEO, the closed material loops obtained by perfectly integrating the new facility into Nunchritz’s existing production environment will not only be highly resource-efficient but also essential for achieving the lowest-possible polysilicon manufacturing costs.

 

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