Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has decided to invest USD 50 million to further increase polysilicon production by close to 20% through de-bottlenecking, at one of the existing plants.
REC has today decided to significantly increase the production capacity through de-bottlenecking at the existing plant in Butte, Montana, USA. Total project investments will amount to approximately USD 50 million. The project consists of both adding silane gas production capacity and modifying nearly 1/3 of the Siemens reactors installed at the plant.
“This will unlock significantly more of the potential of the Butte facility both in terms of production capacity and production cost, the plant that was taken over from Komatsu in August 2005”, says Erik Thorsen, President and CEO of REC ASA.
Polysilicon is made by converting silane gas, from the first production step, into a solid metal through Siemens reactors. From Q1 of 2008, the de-bottlenecking project is expected to increase silane gas production by around 2,000 MT and polysilicon production by approximately 1,000 MT. Around one third of the new silane gas produced will be sold as gas to the electronics-, thin film transistor-, liquid crystal displays and photovoltaic markets. By increasing throughput and reducing the cycle-time in the Siemens reactors, total cost per kilogram produced at the Butte plant can be reduced by nearly 20%.
“With this de-bottlenecking project, REC continues the quest for increased production volumes at reduced cost. REC has hereby confirmed its commitment to provide lower cost polysilicon to the photovoltaic industry and its continued support of the merchant silane gas market”, says Gøran Bye, Executive Vice President Silicon of REC ASA.
When the de-bottlenecking has been completed and the new granular polysilicon production plant is operational in 2008, REC will have total silane gas production capacity of 20,000 MT and total polysilicon production capacity of 13,500 MT. The polysilicon production will be split between 6,500 MT of granular and 7,000 MT of Siemens based material.