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Linde And Schmid Collaborate To Boost Silane Production

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New plant to support rapidly expanding solar cell market.
The electronic gases business of the
Linde Group announced a strategic collaboration with Schmid Silicon
Pilot Production to supply silane to the Photovoltaic (PV) industry
from a new facility currently under construction in Schwarze Pumpe
near Dresden, Germany. Schmid will own and operate the process for
production of up to 540 tonnes per annum (tpa) of electronic grade
silane. Linde will own and operate the silane filling facility with
an initial capacity of 300 tpa due on stream in early 2009.




The silane from the Schwarze Pumpe
facility will augment the current supply capacity of the Linde Group,
providing uninterrupted security of supply for Linde's customers.
Based on the new Schmid Monosilane Technology, the process is capable
of producing high purity silane for thin film PV manufacturers as
well as producing high quality polysilicon for the crystalline solar
cell market. Schmid's equipment capacity for polysilicon deposition
is about 250 tonnes per annum.




Graham Hodgson, Director of Linde's
Silane Program, said: “Demand for high purity silane gas for
electronics industry applications is growing rapidly, especially for
the new Thin Film Photovoltaic (PV) market. As the leading global gas
supplier to this PV market, Linde has embarked on an ambitious
programme of investments to ensure that the needs of our customers
are fully met. We believe Schmid fully understands PV customer needs,
and this collaboration will significantly ease the supply of silane.”



Christian Schmid, CEO of Schmid Silicon
Pilot Production, said: “For Schmid, the strategic co-operation
with Linde is an important milestone, an opportunity to work closely
with an industry leader to expand our capabilities. This agreement
also demonstrates the strength of our technology based on monosilane,
and gives us the confidence to feed the industry's demand for
electronic grade silane.”



Thin film PV cells are manufactured by
depositing a thin layer of amorphous silicon on a large area
substrate, usually glass. Apart from silane, the manufacturing
process also uses other high purity gases such as hydrogen. The
deposition chambers require frequent cleaning between processing of
substrates, a process that uses large volumes of nitrogen trifluoride
(NF3) or fluorine (F2). Linde is a key supplier of the complete range
of gases, and is also unique in offering electronic grade F2 that is
generated on site.


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