Wacker Tennessee - WACKER North & Central America


Wacker Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much will the project cost? What is the total investment?

Total investment for this new integrated polysilicon production site is estimated at about 2 bn USD.

2. How many employees does WACKER expect to employ?

The new site is expected to create some 650 new jobs.

3. What is the plant’s capacity?

Once the plant will be fully operational and ramped, annual hyperpure polysilicon capacity is expected to reach about 20,000 metric tons per year.

4. How much volume will you be selling when from this plant?

Start of production in Charleston is scheduled for mid-2015. Now that the construction schedule has been refined, we will align our staffing and ramp up to correspond with the schedule. The key project targets for plant capacity, investment and jobs remain unchanged.

5. You previously planned 18kt and USD1.8bn, why have you changed the size and capex?

Renewable energy sources such as photovoltaics will play an increasingly important role in the world’s energy producing sectors. Accordingly, WACKER believes in the continued long term growth of polysilicon demand. WACKER has, therefore, decided to adjust its original plan from 18kt to 20kt. This, along with effects from the refined construction schedule, brings estimated capital expenditures to some 2 bn USD.

6. What is it exactly you are going to be producing?

The plant will be producing hyper-pure crystalline polysilicon for solar cells. The new site will be a fully integrated closed loop operation. This comprises the manufacturing of the starting material trichlorosilane, the deposition reactors for polysilicon as well as plants to recycle by-products and process chemicals.

7. What do you mean by closed loop?

WACKER POLYSILICON uses various technologies to recycle and reutilize by-products to the process. For example, WACKER has developed processes:
- to recycle by-product silanes back into the process to be reused rather than disposed,
- to use by-products for other chemical processes, and
- to re-use process chemicals and utilities several times.

This process results in a high yield of Silicon metal into Hyperpure Polysilicon, reduces loss of process chemicals and air emissions, and finally also lowers the consumption of water.

To summarize: WACKER has continuously improved the economy of its processes and the quality of its products. WACKER’s manufacturing technology uses less raw materials, reduces waste and energy consumption which results in a more environmentally sustainable operating process. And in conjunction, higher output results with increased yields of consistently high quality Hyperpure Polysilicon.

8. What is Trichlorosilane?

Trichlorosilane (TCS) is a chemical compound that contains three essential elements - silicon, hydrogen and chlorine. At high temperatures Trichlorosilane decomposes to produce silicon, and therefore purified Trichlorosilane becomes the principal source for producing the hyperpure polycrystalline silicon used to produce solar cells and associated photovoltaic devices.

9. Will you build out further sites?

Next to Tennessee we have opportunities in Burghausen and Nünchritz to extend our sites.

10. Where do you get the raw material from?

We source silicon metal globally from multiple sources. In addition, WACKER also produces appr. 50kt of silicon metal in the recently acquired plant in Norway, covering about 30 % of our needs.

11. What is the amount of aid or funding support you received from the state, local or federal levels? And how did it affect your decision making?

We are grateful for the support that we have received from the state, local and federal governments. Due to the scope of our project, a strong partnership between WACKER and the respective governments was essential.

The commitment that we have seen from the Federal Government, the State of Tennessee and Bradley County was integral to our decision to locate the project in Tennessee. In addition to governments' cooperation and political support, we received financial commitments in the form of infrastructure grants and tax credits.

The exact amount of this financial support will depend upon our future tax liability and the cost of the infrastructure. Accordingly, at this time we cannot quantify the value of this support. However, the respective governments adhered to their longstanding policies that require the minimum amount of contribution necessary to secure the project.

While the entirety of this support is a key contributor helping enable the financing of this project, there are a number of other equally important factors that triggered our decision for Tennessee, for example the size of the site, the availability of reliable power from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), over-the-fence supply of chlorine from the adjacent OLIN Corporation facility and excellent transportation infrastructure.

The site was chosen also due to the outstanding support and cooperation made available by the Bradley County government offices, Bradley-Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and the State of Tennessee. The package of incentives connected with the land purchase includes provisions for necessary transportation access and a reliable source for water and electric-based energy which are key resources associated with the production of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon.

12. Can you summarize or tell me about the production process?

The process starts from Silicon metal, which can be sourced from numerous manufacturers.

In order to be used for PV devices, the Silicon metal must be extremely pure, with impurity levels varying for the different elements, but often being on a level of 1 ppt (or 1 impurity atom in 1 trillion silicon atoms).

This is accomplished by grinding the Silicon into granules which are combined in a reactor with Hydrogen Chloride gas (HCl). The result of this reaction is a liquid called Trichlorosilane (TCS).

The raw TCS contains impurities (e.g. “dopants” such as Boron or Phosphorous, as well as Carbon contaminations). These impurities are separated by distillation processes to create TCS of extremely high purity.

The highly purified TCS vapor is passed into a reactor chamber at 1,000° C, where (by means of a so-called “chemical vapor deposition” (CVD) process), silicon atoms condense on silicon rods. This process is known as “Siemens process”.

The silicon rods are then crushed to produce hyperpure polysilicon chunks which are then sorted and packaged. Our customers buy our bags with polysilicon chunks of various sizes to put them into a crucible, melt them and let the liquid then re-crystalize, and finally cut into thin silicon wafers which ultimately become solar cells.

13. What is the expected level of energy consumption?

We neither disclose our manufacturing cost nor key parameters for our manufacturing costs.

14. Has Tennessee energy advantages against Burghausen?

Yes, Tennessee has lower energy costs than Burghausen.

15. Who are your main competitors? What is your market share or position?

WACKER is the world’s second-largest supplier of polycrystalline silicon with a market share of some 20%. Our main competitors are Hemlock (USA), OCI (Korea), GCL (China), REC (Norway) and Tokuyama (Japan).

16. What made the Cleveland, TN area so attractive to WACKER to locate there?

We are grateful for the support that we have received from the state, local and federal governments. Due to the scope of our project, a strong partnership between WACKER and the respective governments was essential.

The commitment that we have seen from the Federal Government, the State of Tennessee and Bradley County was integral to our decision to locate the project in Tennessee. In addition to governments' cooperation and political support, we received financial commitments in the form of infrastructure grants and tax credits.

The exact amount of this financial support will depend upon our future tax liability and the cost of the infrastructure. Accordingly, at this time we cannot quantify the value of this support. However, the respective governments adhered to their longstanding policies that require the minimum amount of contribution necessary to secure the project.

17. Where do you expect to be in 5 years? 10 years?

WACKER is currently the worldwide No. 2 in polysilicon with a market share of around 20%. It is our target to develop production capacities in line with market demand, serving our customers with best-in-class quality polysilicon at competitive prices while at the same time maintaining healthy margins for our business.

We are aligning our construction schedule to build up our new integrated site in Tennessee which is expected to start production in mid-2015.. WACKER has a strong track record of bringing new plants and plant production upgrades on stream and according to schedule. We expect a smooth rundown for this project as well.

18. What was the purchase price of the land?

We acquired the land in 2009 for a bit less than USD 20Mio.

19. If my company is a construction contractor, vendor or supplier of services, where might I send our business card and information about my company?

To register for consideration to become a reliable supplier of WACKER, please use our easy-to-use online supplier registration process. Simply provide the following information about your company:

  • Address + D-U-N-S® number
  • Regions in which you do business
  • Contact person
  • Material groups on offer (eCl@ass code)

Once the registration is complete, your data will be forwarded directly to your designated WACKER purchasing representative.

Please remember that registration requires your D&B D-U-N-S® number. If you don't have a D-U-N-S® number, you can request a free one via the following link: http://www.upik.de/en/start.html

In registering, you indicate your acceptance of the principles underlying the UN's Global Compact. For details of this UN initiative, visit http://www.unglobalcompact.org

Open the supplier registration

2. If you prefer, you may submit information about your company via mail. Please send your company business card, documents and supporting literature to the following address:
Procurement and Logistics Department
Attn: Tennessee Project
Wacker Chemical Corporation
3301 Sutton Rd
Adrian, MI 49221
USA

20. I am interested in a future career with WACKER. Where might I send my resume and qualifications?

Thank you for your inquiry regarding future employment opportunities with WACKER Polysilicon North America, LLC.

You can submit your resume and qualifications using our application assistant. Look at Career > „Current Vacancies.“ For updates about this project please visit www.wacker.com/tennessee .

Due to the volume of resumes we expect to receive, we will only be accepting applications online. Again, thank you for your interest in WACKER. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

WACKER - CREATING TOMORROW'S SOLUTIONS

WACKER is a globally active company. For information about WACKER's worldwide operations, visit our global website (available in English, German and Chinese).

WACKER Global Website