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Silicon Production from Recycled Materials


Development of Technology of Production of Semiconductor Silicon from Re-Use Raw Materials of Gomel Chemical Plant

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry
  • MAT-ELE/Organic and Electronics Materials/Materials

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Mitina L M

Leading Institute
Plastma Ltd, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • Novopolotsk Izmeritel Plant, Belarus, Vitebsk reg., Novopolotsk\nBelarussian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics, Belarus, Minsk\nMinsk Research Institute of Radiomaterials, Belarus, Minsk

Project summary

The objective of the project is the development and demonstration of a highly effective, waste-free, ecologically pure, low power-intensive technology of semiconductor silicon production for needs of photoelectrical conversion and microelectronics from cheap row materials, namely from a by-product of apatite processing into a fertilizer – H2SiF6, that Gomel chemical plant, in particular, has in excess.

The technical approach to the achievement of the objective differs from the traditional one. If the traditional technology is based on the silicon (Si) reduction from quartz (SiO2) by carbon (C) at temperature of approximately 3,000 °C:

SiO2 + 2С ® Si + 2 CO,

under the proposed technology, silicon, suitable for helio power industry and microelectronics, is produced from a cheap by-product of apatite processing into a fertilizer - H2SiF6 by low power-intensive and ecologically pure operations.

The non-traditional approach will provide output of no less than 70%, its cost reduction – more than twice, reduction of world deficit in solar grade silicon (only by using the resources of the Republic of Belarus this deficit will be reduced approximately by 30%). The realization of the technology is also possible in other countries.

The project conforms to ISTC's objectives and tasks to involve specialists, previously employed in the production of weapons of mass destruction, to the solution of national and international technical problems. Weapons scientists and engineers are highly qualified and have much experience gained at enterprises, processing the methodology of production of high-pure substances for microelectronics.

Expected results

On the basis of the non-traditional approach and experience of Gomel chemical plant, producing phosphorous fertilizers out of apatite and along with it producing a by-product H2SiF6 (raw material for silicon production), the following will be carried out:

· trial and demonstration of a highly effective and ecologically pure technology of semiconductor silicon production from a by-product of apatite processing;
· patenting of technical solutions;
· technical-economic calculations for the substation of pilot-industrial production.

The research will be completed by preparation of a set of documents including reports about research work carried at each stage.

The project has a commercial potential. It will define the perspectives for polycrystalline production (estimated cost will be no less than 17 U.S. dollars per 1 kg) and single-crystalline silicon production (estimated cost will be no less than 60 U.S. dollars per 1 kg) for realization on home and world markets.

Potential role of foreign collaborators consists in fund raising for financing of the development of the solar and electron grade silicon production technology out of re-use raw materials, produced at apatite processing in fertilizers.

The collaborator, the Belgium firm IMEC, having estimated the expediency of the proposed project, found the possibility of the partial financing of the project with defraying of expenses on the purchase of laboratory equipment and materials, as well as travel expenses (the sum of subsidies is 10,200,000 BEF or approximately 255,000 U.S. dollars).

The project is drawn up with the collaborators. The collaborator is supposed to participate in the establishment of future production.