Degussa AG is significantly expanding its silane capacity with the construction of a monosilane plant in Rheinfelden, Germany. In a parallel project, Joint Solar Silicon GmbH & Co. KG (JSSI), Freiberg, a joint venture of Degussa AG (51 percent) and SolarWorld AG, Bonn, will be building a production plant for manufacturing solar silicon from monosilane. The plant will be based on a proprietary manufacturing process that allows inexpensive industrial production of solar silicon from silane gas. Production will begin in 2008 starting with an expected annual capacity of 850 metric tons of solar silicon. The investment volume will range in the double-digit millions of euros.
With the currently announced JSSI construction project, Degussa and SolarWorld are broadening the partnership they began in 2002. In addition, the partners have concluded a ten-year supply agreement for the solar silicon manufactured in Rheinfelden. A pilot plant for production of solar silicon commenced operation in Rheinfelden last year. The knowledge gained through this plant is now being used in industrial production.
In the ongoing international demand for solar energy products, Degussa and SolarWorld see good opportunities for the new and now application-ready technology developed by their joint venture JSSI in cooperation with leading universities. According to Dr. Dietmar Wewers, head of Degussa's Silanes Business Line and chairman of the JSSI supervisory board, the cooperation also "offers Degussa the opportunity to supply and develop suitable products from its broad range of silane raw materials for the manufacture of polycrystalline solar silicon."