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Low-Cost Crystal Silicon

#0264


The Development of Basic Plasma-Chemical Technology for Manufacture of Low Cost Crystal Silicon for Solar Power Plants.

Tech Area / Field

  • MAN-MAT/Engineering Materials/Manufacturing Technology

Status
8 Project completed

Registration date
26.10.1994

Completion date
26.11.1999

Senior Project Manager
Komarkov D A

Leading Institute
AO Kompozit, Russia, Moscow reg., Korolev

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIKhT (Chemical Technology), Russia, Moscow

Collaborators

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA, CO, Golden\nEurosolare SPA, Italy, Rome

Project summary

The project's purpose is the development of a new technology of manufacturing crystal silicon for solar cells (SC) which is being produced nowadays from expensive silicon of semiconductor grade.

The main task in development of a large-scale solar energy production is to cut down the cost of a basic material for SC. To make solar energy power stations profitable one must reduce the cost of crystal silicon 5 or 6 times.

In Russia there is a unique endowment of natural quartz and graphite comprising minerals with impurities content of about 10-3 to 10-4 % mass, which gives an opportunity to re-assess the prospects of a large-scale production of solar grade crystal silicon for SC. Having such quality of a natural raw material one can get silicon of solar grade by direct method of carbo-thermal or plasma-chemical rectification without chlorine-silan processing. As a result, the cost of silicon drops significantly.

Present project suggests to undertake a thorough research – including exploring and investigation of raw materials – to develop technology of carbo-thermal extraction of silicon from high purity quartz minerals in two-zone electric furnace. Such technology involves highly pure quartz and carbon.

The project suggests also the development of technology of silicon extraction from high purity quartz by plasma-chemical dissolution of silicon oxide which is to have been produced by chemical treatment of silicon dioxide. Produced in such a way silicon has nearly no carbon impurities and needs no extra refinement.

The new technological proposal implementation may lead to lower production cost of crystal silicon and silicon photovoltaic elements respectively – to the level of ecologically safe solar power stations become competitive to electric power stations consuming nuclear or organic fuel.

SPA "KOMPOZIT" has a large experience in fields of a silicon electro-thermal processing and electric plasma-complexes.


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