Elkem has been producing silicon for 60 years, but not highly purified solar-grade silicon. For more than 25 years, the company has been working on a proprietary process to purify metallurgical-based silicon for use in solar cells.
This new process to create solar grade polysilicon would help provide Elkem a competitive advantage in the solar sector. Operational, their estimated costs compared to manufacturers using the traditional Siemens process or the newer FBR process would considerably lower.
Elkem had two major challenges to overcome when they undertook this project; successfully scaling up their pilot plant and retrofitting the existing site to produce a new product.