Linde facilitates photovoltaic cell capacity expansion in South East Asia By CIOReview Team

Linde facilitates photovoltaic cell capacity expansion in South East Asia

CIOReview Team | Wednesday, 16 March 2016, 07:19 IST

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Major photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturers in South East Asia are expanding capacity and are partnering with technology company The Linde Group to quickly establish the reliable, high-quality supply chain they need as they extend material supply lines beyond their home countries. A case in point: Linde has been awarded multiple wins of gas and chemical supply for a number of world leading PV cell manufacturers' first plants in South East Asia. Linde not only provides materials, but also regional expertise in the form of engineering solutions and permitting guidance to deliver high-value advantages to customers in this competitive space.

Consolidation has quickly turned to expansion in the PV industry, and cell manufacturers are taking advantage of growth markets, local incentives and favorable trade terms by adding capacity in Thailand, Malaysia, India and other regional locations. In addition to building greenfield factories, manufacturers are faced with creating international material supply chains, navigating permitting and licensing in a new country, and building gas and chemical distribution systems, all of which are core competencies of Linde.

Linde offers a complete portfolio of gas and chemical products required for photovoltaic processes. Bulk gases used in the manufacture of PV cells are nitrogen (N2), hydrogen (H2), oxygen (O2), argon (Ar), and in some cases, helium (He). Specialty gases used in PV manufacture are silane (SiH4), ammonia (NH3), nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), hydrogen fluoride (HF), phosphine (PH3) and diborane (B2H6). Operating with its subsidiary Asia Union Electronic Chemical Corporation (AUECC), which has manufacturing sites in mainland China and Taiwan, Linde also provides a full range of wet chemicals, including high-purity aqueous acids, bases and etchants.

Andreas Weisheit, Head of Linde Electronics explains "Linde is the leading gas and chemical provider in the South East Asia region, with a long history in each of the individual countries in which we operate. Project windows are very short and customers need a materials supplier who can successfully execute sourcing, logistics and engineering solutions on aggressive timelines. Being close to our customers with the right resources means that Linde already has a multi-functional team in place on day one, and can help them ramp production as quickly as possible. Because of all we have to offer, we have become partners with PV manufacturers who have an immediate need for a well-functioning, reliable supply chain."

To safely, store, handle, connect and distribute the gases and chemicals used in PV manufacture, detailed design considerations, which include local and global standards, and legal legislation, which is different in each particular country, must be taken into account. Linde experience with local permitting and licensing has benefitted customers needing to minimize their project timelines. Design codes, safety quantities, safety distances, package sizing, material handling techniques and emergency response accessibility are all considered when designing facilities and associated equipment in gas and chemical, source to point-of-use supply schemes.

Linde has the expertise to fully design greenfield gas and chemical facilities, including BSGS (bulk specialty gas systems), abatement and distribution piping networks, chemical CDM (chemical distribution modules) and specialized co-axial distribution piping. The Linde Engineering services division is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, supports Linde locally and globally and is currently active in executing multiple projects throughout the region. Linde can offer all molecules, full turnkey installation and all associated equipment and a complete point-of-use guarantee for all gases and chemicals used in the PV process.

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