Dow Corning has begun producing high-purity monosilane gas – a key material used as an anti-reflective solar cell coating and as feedstocks for photovoltaics.

The gas is being manufactured in a 4,000 tons per year Dow Corning facility in Thomas Township, Michigan. The plant is conveniently situated adjacent to the polysilicon manufacturing plant of Hemlock Semiconductor Group, of which Dow Corning is a major shareholder.

Eric Peeters, Vice President of Dow Corning Solar Solutions, highlighted the importance of monosilane gas for solar purposes, he said, “Technology and innovation can only grow as fast as manufacturers are supplied raw materials. The solar energy market depends on a reliable supply of high-purity monosilane gas as one of those key raw materials.”

Peeters added, “There are only a few major manufacturers of monosilane, and most of them use much of their supply for their own downstream processing. So up until now, monosilane hasn’t always been available when customers needed it.”

According to Dow Corning, monosilane purity levels match that of competitor suppliers and are above industry specifications. “The plant’s consistent purity and our track record of quality in silicon-based products make monosilane from Dow Corning a switch customers can make with confidence. This is a great opportunity to either change primary sources or add a secondary one,” said Peeters.

Branching-out and investing wisely
In a recent press release announcing the Michigan plant expansion, Dow Corning also publicised the intention to expand its portfolio of total photovoltaic solution packages.

Indeed Dow Corning quantified this, when it pledged to invest more than $5bn into R&D of materials needed in the solar industry. The investment will mark a joint undertaking between Dow Corning and its joint venture, the Hemlock Semiconductor Group.