Linde Gases has revealed that leading thin-film solar modules manufacturer Masdar PV GmbH has signed an agreement for its on-site generated fluorine, to eliminate the use of greenhouse gases.

A division of The Linde Group, Linde Gases’ fluorine technology will enable Masdar to reduce the carbon footprint of its solar cells.

The two companies have signed an agreement to qualify and adopt Linde’s on-site generated fluorine – a zero global warming solution for photovoltaic (PV) module process chamber cleaning. This extension of the collaboration between the two companies is a key element of Linde’s drive to help accelerate the PV industry from grid parity to green parity.

Masdar PV will eliminate the use of the greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which has a global warming potential 17,200 times that of CO2, from their state-of-the-art thin-film production facility in Ichtershausen, near Erfurt, Germany.

The company’s philosophy of sustainable development and deployment of renewable energy and low carbon technologies is fully supported by Linde’s mature fluorine generation technology - which provides a more productive and energy efficient alternative to the use of Per-Fluoro-Compound (PFC) gases, including NF3, for chemical vapour deposition chamber cleaning.

Ian Travis, Manager of Linde’s on-site Fluorine business, described it as a ‘win-win’ situation and said, “Fluorine cleaning is a win-win choice for thin-film solar cell manufacturers. In addition to removing any risk of unabated emissions, fluorine reduces non-productive cleaning time and improves throughput.”

“This is a rare situation where the interests of environmental responsibility and profit are aligned. We are delighted to be able to supply an immediate improvement on current technology to Masdar, as proof of Linde’s commitment to deliver efficiency through gas technology.”

Dr. Matthias Peschke, Masdar’s Director of Operations & Engineering, confidently added, “Our objectives are to deliver innovative, thin-film technology with an optimal cost-performance ratio.”

“Using sustainable materials, hence significantly lowering the emissions in the production process, is another important differentiator for Masdar PV in a highly competitive market. Linde’s efforts in offering efficient and safe on-site fluorine technology to remove NF3 from our process are commendable.”

Linde has pioneered efforts to achieve the lowest carbon footprint possible for dry chamber cleaning in thin-film PV, TFT-LCD and semiconductor manufacturing by installing more than 30 Generation-F® on-site fluorine generators in the electronics industry.

The group has established a leading position in gas and chemical supply to thin-film Si solar module manufacturers, supplying more than half of all the industry projects. The company also has a strong position in Crystalline Silicon, with an almost 40% market share.