Crystalline Silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells will be the dominant technology for the next 20 years with a 30% average annual growth rate. Currently 17% of module costs relate to feedstock. Even though cells will be thinner and more efficient demand, for s olar grade silicon (sog-Si) will grow from the current 7,000 metric tons (priced at 25-30 Euro/kg) to over 20,000 metric tons per year in 2010. A dedicated sog-Si source is needed or growth will stagnate and feedstock prices will increase to 40-60 Euro/kg jeopardising compliance with the EC White Paper objectives. SISI aims at alleviating the PV industry dependence on the limited and expensive supply of silicon from the electronics industry. The consortium is convinced that the most promising option to provide the very large quantities of high-purity silicon required is the direct carbothermic reduction of quartz. The 6 SISI partners include the major European industry and institutes with expertise in ultra-high-purity quartz, silicon production & purification, and solar cell-processing. The project's goal is to demonstrate on an intermediate scale (approx. 200 kg per batch) an integral direct carbothermic route for sog-Si production that can be industrialised. In the preceding SOLSILC project, the direct carbothermic process was developed basedon a selected combination of raw materials and a two-step silicon production process with silicon carbide as an intermediate product. In the SPURT project the most economical large-scale purification techn iques were selected. This combination of technologies is integrally scaled-up in the SISI project, with the following innovations: optimised raw material preparation and furnace operation for a stable and high-yield Si-production, Suitable quartz purific ation and pelletisation techniques. transfer of the purification techniques to intermediate scale, including new steps such as filtering. To this end, the new partner Elkem, the world's main producer of silicon, adds expertise to the SOLSILC process. The project is organised in 6 work packages, which follow the value chain and production steps: Raw materials, Si-production, Purification, Wafer & cell process, Technology implementation, and Consortium management. Several integral production runs wi ll be executed from raw materials to cells, to prove the reproducibility of the results. A successful completion of the project results in the initialisation of a pilot plant.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call
Funding SchemeCooperative - SMEs-Co-operative research contracts