Munich-based Wacker announced plans to establish a new production line for semiconductor-grade polysilicon in Burghausen, Germany. The 300 million euro ($324.4 million) investment would increase the manufacturing capacity of ultrapure polysilicon by more than 50%.
The company plans to establish a new production line by the beginning of 2025, which could increase its production capacity by more than 50%.
It estimates that the investments will be more than 300 million euros ($324.4 million) and will create more than 100 new jobs. A “substantial” portion of the investment would be directed toward research and innovation to increase the purity of polysilicon with a new, highly automated process, Wacker said in a statement. This process should allow semiconductors to conform to the rules of smaller models and increase power.
Wacker has received approval from the European Commission to finance the research and development project. If the German Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection also approves the application, the company expects to receive funding of up to 46 million euros.
“As the only European producer of ultrapure polysilicon, we are proud to make a significant contribution to strengthening the European microelectronics supply chain with this project,” said Wacker CEO Christian Hartel. “By expanding our surface cleaning capacity, we create the necessary conditions to meet the continuous, rapidly growing demand of our semiconductor customers. Thanks to this investment, we will also be able to take our material quality to a new level to support the latest technologies in the semiconductor sector,” he added.
Semiconductor-grade polysilicon is even purer than solar-grade polysilicon, with a purity of 99.999999999% compared to 99.9999%. Its manufacture involves an etching process that uses strong acids to remove the top layer from the surface of the poly pipe.
In March, Wacker announced that it would expand its polysilicon capacity for semiconductor applications in addition to the production material for high-efficiency solar cells. The company plans to double its sales in the semiconductor sector by 2030 and has reserved an annual investment of around 100 million euros over the next few years.