Hemlock Semiconductor acquires DuPont’s Trichlorosilane biz to decarbonize solar PV provide chain
Hemlock Semiconductor Operations (HSC) announced the acquisition of a DuPont business that produces trichlorosilane (TCS), the primary raw material used to manufacture high purity polysilicon HSC supplies to the semiconductor and solar industries. By acquiring TCS operations in Midland, Michigan, HSC can better control supply and significantly reduce costs. The Midland facility is located approximately 20 miles north of HSC’s sprawling campus west of Saginaw, Michigan.
HSC’s new low cost position, coupled with the ability to sustainably produce polysilicon, will allow the company to become more competitive as solar buyers increasingly look for ways to decarbonise their supply chains.
“This acquisition will strengthen our already strong semiconductor position,” said Mark Bassett, chairman and CEO of HSC. “This will help accelerate our growth in solar as we can offer ultra-pure polysilicon of exceptional quality that reduces the carbon footprint of solar module manufacturing at a much lower cost.”
Bassett described the acquisition of the trichlorosilane asset as an “important milestone” for HSC to fully integrate the company’s manufacturing into the primary raw material. Polysilicon is used to make solar photovoltaic cells (PV) and integrated circuits for electronics, which form the building blocks for everything from smartphones to autonomous vehicles.
Although solar PV does not cause any emissions when in operation and usually offsets greenhouse gases (GHG) and other emissions from electricity generation from fossil sources, the reduction in the carbon footprint is more than you might think. The greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture and transportation of things can have a noticeable impact on the “embodied carbon” of a particular product. Solar cells are no different in this regard, as major components of solar cell technology such as polysilicon require energy-intensive processes to purify them into solar grade polysilicon.
HSC has worked hard to improve the energy efficiency and energy management of its operations to reduce its carbon footprint. This has resulted in very low greenhouse gas emissions in the high purity polysilicon that HSC makes. By increasing the environmental impact, HSC has made low-carbon solar modules possible with up to 50 percent less carbon than typical solar modules.
“Not all solar energy is created equal. If end users choose solar energy products more carefully by choosing raw materials that are produced through energy efficient processes, they can further decarbonise their supply chains and achieve their sustainability goals more quickly, ”added Bassett.