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Integrated loops: a prerequisite for sustainable and environmentallyfriendly polysilicon production

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By Sebastian Liebischer, Member of the Process Development Unit, Wacker Chemie AG; Dieter Weidhaus, Project Engineer, Wacker Chemie; Dr. Tobias Weiss, Member of the Process Development Unit, Wacker Chemie AG

The photovoltaic market, which is dominated by polysilicon-based crystalline solar cells, has been developing rapidly, with growth rates in the double-digit range for several years. In order to meet increasing demand for hyperpure polysilicon, manufacturers need to adhere to environmentally-friendly production processes with low energy consumption. This article highlights the key processes needed to manufacture hyperpure polycrystalline silicon and explores the related challenges and solutions for sustainable polysilicon production. Our findings prove that only an intelligent interaction of all necessary process steps fulfils the requirements for minimized production residue volumes and low energy consumption. Totally integrated production loops for all essential media are prerequisite to reach these targets. Once implemented, these highly efficient production processes serve as an excellent platform technology for the continued healthy growth of the PV industry.

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The ninth edition of Photovoltaics International was published in August 2010. It features Fraunhofer IISB looking at advanced process control techniques in Cell Processing, NREL gives an atmospheric thin-film deposition technique overview, and in Power Generation REC looks at reducing BOS costs with new technology and economies of scale.

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