Solar silicon materials producer, Silicor Materials is to establish a 19,000MT plant in Iceland to convert metallurgical-grade silicon (MG-Si) feedstock to purified solar grade silicon that it claims can be produced at US$9/kg.
The small US-based company is tapping banks, ports, equipment and electricity suppliers in Iceland to support the building and operating of the planned facility that will located at the port of Grundartangi and initially employ 100 construction workers and around 400 full-time employees.
Unspecified financing requirements are being sought from Arion Bank, said to be one of the largest banks in the country, while Centra Corporate Finance is tasked with raising equity finance for the project. Location incentive packages were said to be ongoing with Iceland’s Ministry of Industries and Innovation.
Silicor also said it had has obtained heads of terms, and a letter of intent from Landsvirkjun and Orka Náttúrunnar (ON Power) respectively, two of Iceland’s largest power producers, to supply plant operations.
SMS Siemag, a machinery and plant construction expert for the steel, aluminum and metallurgical-grade silicon industries, has signed on to supply the majority of the facility’s production equipment, according to Silicor.
“When we consider the potential sites for our first commercial-scale plant, Iceland is a leading candidate for a number of reasons,” said Theresa Jester, CEO of Silicor Materials. “In addition to its world-class manufacturing and transportation infrastructure, the country provides low-cost renewable energy, enabling Silicor to produce the only truly ‘green’ silicon in the world. Further, Iceland ranks among the top aluminum producers worldwide, providing Silicor with a built-in market for its premium aluminum-based products. With the support of Arion Bank, we are well positioned to bring venture to realisation.”
Subject to final agreements, Silicor said it wanted to break ground later in 2014 and have construction and initial production in 2016.
Iceland benefits from very low electricity costs due to thermal power plants and has been touted as a location for both polysilicon and semiconductor manufacturing due to high energy consumption requirements.