Linde Nippon Sanso (LNS), a company of The Linde Group, has been awarded a long-term contract to supply gases for Bosch Solar’s new manufacturing site in Erfurt, Germany.

Bosch Solar, a Division of Bosch Group, produces crystalline Si solar cells at its site in Arnstadt near Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany.

Under the turnkey contract, Linde will provide high purity nitrogen from an on-site air separation unit, and bulk oxygen.

Formerly known as ersol, the Bosch Erfurt site is expanding with investment of more than €530m for the construction of a completely new facility to manufacture crystalline silicon solar cells.

The facility was officially inaugurated in March 2009 and, when fully ramped up, the overall capacity of the site will reach 630 MWp (megawatt peak). The project is partly funded by the European Union and will create a significant number of new jobs.

“This latest contract further strengthens our relationship with Bosch, a leader in both thin-film and crystalline photovoltaic (PV) production,” says Andreas Guenther, President Linde Nippon Sanso.

“We already supply Bosch Solar at this site in Arnstadt with specialty gases, as well as a wide range of gases to Bosch’s nearby thin-film facility.”

Over the past four years, Linde has built a leading position in gases and chemical supply to both crystalline and thin-film silicon PV module manufacturers, in key markets including Germany, Spain, Italy, China, Taiwan and India.

To date, Linde has partnered customers on projects with a target capacity of more than 6GWp (gigawatt peak), with European customers contributing 2GWp of that total.

Linde is already well established as a key material supplier in the Erfurt area through its turnkey supply contract with thin-film PV manufacturer Masdar.