Linde wins three new long-term thin film gas supply contracts in China

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The Linde Group has said that it has recently been awarded major new multi-million US-dollar gas supply contracts with three thin film start-ups in China. The Linde Group’s local subsidiary, Linde LienHwa has been awarded contracts by Tianwei Baoding, Hangzhou Amplesun Solar and ENN Solar. Linde said that the new wins in China equate to 50 percent market share in China. The company will supply large volumes of silane and hydrogen gas to each new customer.

“China is a strong contender to become a model for the global solar energy market, with the recent rapid-paced growth in the photovoltaic market, and The Linde Group is excited to be a part of this dynamic evolution of the renewable energy landscape,” said Andy Cook, President of Linde LienHwa China. “Linde’s successful relationships with Tianwei Baoding, Hangzhou Ample Solar and ENN Solar illustrate our commitment to deploy innovative approaches to production and utilization of materials in solar manufacturing. Ultimately, Linde’s collaboration with such world leading companies is aimed at the universal industry goal of reducing cost per watt of solar cell production and bringing the cost of solar electricity to grid parity.”

Interestingly, Linde has won business from the start-ups that each use one of the major thin film turnkey equipment suppliers. ENN Solar, a division of XinAo, is to use Applied Materials, SunFab 5.7m2 substrate size, while Baoding Tianwei Solarfilms is believed to be using Oerlikon Solar’s 1.3m x 1.1m substrate size and Hangzhou Amplesun Solar Technology has opted for Ulvac’s 1.1m x 1.4m technology.

ENN Solar is said to be starting commercial production by Q2 of 2009, with a capacity of 60MW. Dr. Rick Wan, General Manager at ENN Solar said: “PV module manufacturing is a very important part of ENN’s strategy to contribute to the clean energy revolution in China and other countries of the world. Linde brings synergies with our history of innovation and experience in energy production to develop this renewable alternative energy source at competitive pricing.”

Baoding Tianwei Solarfilms is to future-proof its gas installation and supply chain by working with Linde, the company said. Baoding Tianwei Solarfilms first production line is expected to go online in the first quarter of 2009. The company is said to have invested US$180 million in its thin film operations.

Hangzhou Amplesun Solar Technology Co. Ltd is installing two 25MW turnkey production lines in Hangzhou with a total capacity of 50MW, by the end of 2008, using Ulvac’s technology. Volume production is expected April of 2009 and the facility can initially accommodate 4 lines.

“Linde has been facilitating our needs on specialty gases as well as on-site services, which will greatly speed up our capacity scale-up in the production of thin film solar modules,” noted Mr. Jin Qing Guo, CEO of Amplesun Solar.

Linde has said that it now won 63 percent of industry projects for thin film production and 36 percent of c-Si projects, globally.

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