LNS has an exclusive contract to supply Blue Chip Energy GmbH in Guessing with all of the gases needed to make solar cells.

Linde Nippon Sanso is a joint venture of The Linde Group, the leading global gases and engineering group of companies, and the Japanese Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corp. LNS, headquartered in Pullach, Germany, near Munich, offers gases, turnkey supply systems and services for numerous applications in semiconductor, solar cell, and optical fibre production.

The Blue Chip plant, which will be fully operational in the second quarter of 2008, will manufacture 800,000 square metres of solar cells a year, enough to provide power to 16,000 households.
“We are delighted to have been chosen as the gas supplier to Blue Chip for this exciting and pioneering project. Our advanced gas technologies offer clear advantages to solar cell manufacturers, and this award further reinforces our leading position in Europe,” said Andreas Guenther, president, Linde Nippon Sanso.

Under the long-term contract, Linde will provide Blue Chip with turnkey installation of the plant’s bulk and special gases supply systems and ongoing delivery of the gases essential to making the solar cells. These gases include large volumes of the inert nitrogen gas required in the manufacturing process, along with silane and ammonia, used to deposit the anti-reflective coating that give the cells their characteristic blue colour and traps light inside the cell for maximum energy conversion efficiency.

Rainer Stowasser, managing director, Blue Chip Energy, said, “LNS is the leading electronic gas supplier in Austria, giving us security of supply and access to a wide range of gas technologies. Blue Chip will benefit from their experience in supplying solar cell manufacturers around the world, helping us achieve a smooth start-up, optimise gas consumption and minimise environmental impact.”

Blue Chip Energy will invest €50m in the first phase of the plant. The plant, which will create some 140 new jobs, is sponsored by the Region of Burgenland, the Austrian government, and the EU.

25% of Blue Chip is held by the investment company I-Sol Ventures GmbH, and 75% by Sol Holding.