Evonik Industries & Taiyo Nippon Sanso to Start Building Monosilane Plant in Japan25 Nov 2009 • by Natalie Aster
Evonik Industries AG and its partner Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC) in Yokkaichi, Japan, laid the cornerstone for a future-oriented project to use environmentally friendly solar energy. A traditional Shinto ceremony consecrated the ground for the beginning of construction on an integrated production plant for monosilane and AEROSIL®, the centerpiece of the project, for which a total volume of €150 million (?20 billion) has been earmarked. Commissioning is scheduled for 2011. TNSC and Evonik signed the agreement to implement the project in May of this year, despite the worldwide economic crisis. "By beginning construction on time—two weeks before the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen—Evonik is pressing ahead with this significant investment in solar energy and electronics, both markets of the future, and is taking a further step in the attractive Asian market," says Dr. Klaus Engel, chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries AG.
Looking ahead to the Copenhagen Conference, the Evonik Executive Board chairman also points out: "We need a reliable political framework for long-term investment decisions such as the plant in Yokkaichi. For us, this can be only global agreements that are binding for all contracting parties within an international accord. Unilateral regulations for reducing climate-relevant gases lead to market distortions and help neither in global climate protection nor sustainable industrial development."
Evonik is already the worldwide leading producer of chlorosilanes and a major producer of monosilane—both key components for opening up the solar energy market. There is no end in sight for the worldwide solar boom. Based on forecasts, the world market for monosilanes alone is set to grow an annual 20 percent, on average, by 2020. "The big energy efficiency and climate protection trends are important growth drivers for our business," said Engel. He added that with its commitment in Yokkaichi, the Evonik Group is taking the opportunity in this rapidly developing market to make a substantial contribution to climate protection through its innovative products and services.
Evonik has now signed a long-term supply agreement for monosilane with TNSC, one of the foremost global distributors for industrial and specialty gases, which includes silanes, and supplier to major customers in the electronics industry in Asia for many years. Silanes are key components in the manufacture of ultra-pure silicon, an important raw material in the solar and electronics industry. The silicon tetrachloride generated during monosilane production in Yokkaichi is processed into AEROSIL® and marketed separately for applications in plastics, paints, and coatings, for example, as well as adhesives and sealants.
Evonik developed the monosilane production process itself and is already running a plant in Rheinfelden, Germany. The Yokkaichi plant allows the company to produce electronics-grade monosilane for applications in thin-film photovoltaics, flat screens, and semiconductors electronics, which are strong growth areas, especially in Asia.
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