Following the expansion in capacity to over 500 tonnes per year of ultra pure silane in Omi, Japan, Air Liquide and Denka have decided to launch a new large initiative with the construction of a world scale unit in Japan, to meet the growing demand of the market.

The unit is expected to be operational by 2010 and will reinforce Air Liquide’s leadership for silane throughout Japan, Asia and the rest of the world, with the company’s total manufacturing capacity more than tripling with extension-ready capability to 2,000 tpy in a further step.

Air Liquide is also strengthening its distribution and service capabilities worldwide with the opening of three new Electronics Materials Centres this year in Japan, Taiwan, and China - together with investment in many containers for its distribution fleet.

Christophe Fontaine, Vice President of Electronics Group declared, “With this new project, Air Liquide, the only gas supplier to manufacture silane, again demonstrates its commitment to secure reliable supply to its customers. This strategic investment, complementing our new Electronics Material Centres in Asia, as well as our Jumbo bulk silane offer, will confirm our global leadership in ultra pure silane and accelerate our growth in the pure gases market.”

Silane (monosilane, SiH4) is a high purity gas that has become a key material in the manufacture of semiconductors, flat panel displays and photovoltaic solar cells. In a global market growing at more than 25% per year, Air Liquide is considered to be the world leader with a healthy 35% market share and the group has been producing ultra pure silane since 1987, in association with the Denka Group through Denal, its joint-venture company in Japan.