Creating Super-Pure Solar Cell Silicon
Elkem and Swerea partnered up to develop the solar cell silicon manufacturing process. The collaboration has led to a new energy-efficient and eco-friendly product, and a brand-new factory for manufacturing solar cell silicon.
Elkem AS is a world-leading company within the production of silicon and silica fume. At the beginning of the 2000s, Elkem began collaborating with Swerea to develop the solar cell silicon manufacturing process, a product used in the production of solar cells.
Increased production efficiency
One part of development involved investigating the pros and cons of smelting refined silicon metal. By testing different methods, the right process could be employed for the most efficient manufacture of solar cell silicon. The development work also included mathematical and physical modelling, and operational testing at Elkem's plant.
"Owing to pilot-scale testing, we have a good foundation for when we perform the process at our own plant. Swerea also has the requisite equipment and expertise to conduct industrial tests, which are critical to development work," says Kenneth Friestad, Product Manager at Elkem Solar AS
Eco-friendly solar cell silicon
The development work has led to a new solar cell silicon which is both energy-efficient and eco-friendly, as well as a brand-new factory for its manufacture.
In the mid-1970s, Elkem initiated development work on solar cell silicon. This work eventually led to the founding of Elkem Solar in 2009. Today, Elkem Solar in Kristiansand produces super-pure silicon for the solar panel industry. The production method only utilises a quarter of the energy used by competitors, which means manufacture is extremely energy-efficient.