In his speech, WACKER CEO Rudolf Staudigl highlighted the fact that growth opportunities are arising due to photovoltaics’ continued progress around the globe. “Cost for electricity produced by photovoltaic systems has declined markedly in recent years. Consequently, this way of generating energy has become even more competitive, which is opening up new markets,” explained Staudigl. Newly installed global capacity would grow again this year, he said, and amount to between 60 and 70 gigawatts according to WACKER’s estimates. Capacity additions would be particularly high in China, the USA, Japan and India. “This will spur demand for high-grade material of the best quality, as supplied by WACKER,” emphasized Staudigl. In the photovoltaic sector, silicon technology has clearly beaten other technologies, he said.
Charleston, continued Staudigl, would give WACKER the basis in the long term for a fully integrated silicon site in the USA, the world’s second-largest chemical market. Currently, WACKER is looking into constructing a new production facility there for its HDK® pyrogenic silica. Ultrapure amorphous silicon dioxide powder is used as a filler in silicone elastomers and as a viscosity-adjusting agent, for example, in coatings, printing inks and adhesives. It also serves as a flow aid in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries. WACKER is the world’s third-largest manufacturer in this sector.