Munich, 5 September 2011 - Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, today announced the signing of a significant long-term supply contract with Schüco TF, Germany's largest thin-film silicon photovoltaics (PV) module manufacturer, to deliver on-site fluorine (F2) to its new thin-film module mass production site in Großröhrsdorf, eastern Germany. The expansion of Linde's patented on-site fluorine technology to Schüco TF's second manufacturing facility follows a successful production scale implementation on the 40MW Osterweddingen site since March 2009.
As part of the agreement, Linde will construct the largest electronics F2 production plant in Europe, which will see the complete elimination of the use of nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a greenhouse gas with a global warming potential 17,200 times greater* than carbon dioxide (CO2) from Schüco TF's manufacturing process. Linde will help Schüco TF to reduce its emissions by 103,200 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year1.
Linde has seen an increasing number of customers adopt on-site F2 as a more productive and energy-efficient alternative to NF3 for the cleaning of Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD) chambers for PV and TFT-LCD manufacturing due to concerns over the environmental impact of NF3 and potential legislation that could restrict its use.
Carl Jackson, Head of Fluorine Business at Linde Gases Division, said: "Linde and Schüco TF have demonstrated their leadership and foresight in helping the thin-film PV industry to reach a watershed moment. Green energy will only get the green light once the entire supply and manufacturing chain works together to minimise the environmental impact of this sector."
On-site F2 technology at Großröhrsdorf will improve solar module production and increase profitability by removing any risk of unabated emissions, reducing non-productive cleaning time and improving throughput. As a result, the carbon payback time – the time it takes the use of solar panels to offset the environmental impact of their manufacture – is reduced by up to one year.
Prof. Dr. Stiebig, General Manager for Photovoltaics at Schüco TF comments: "The benefits of this agreement for us are three-fold: we can reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of the module production facility whilst radically minimising the environmental impact during the manufacturing process of our thin-film solar panels."
Schüco TF is the tandem junction (µc-Si) extension in addition to the Malibu single junction (a-Si) PV module production for the Schüco Group. Both Malibu and Schüco TF are 100% affiliate companies of the Schüco Group.
In 2008, a Joint Development Programme between Malibu and Linde was established for the development of advanced gas technology to improve cell efficiency and throughput. The mutual cooperation between Linde and Malibu has the unique advantage that the influence of materials can be tested on full-size production lines in order to enable a straightforward transfer into industrial production. The continued partnership has seen the development of the Malibu R&D centre in Bielefeld and the transition from a-Si production up to µc-Si production at the Großröhrsdorf facility.
Linde is committed to further innovation to help extend the range of applications for F2 and to help its customers improve productivity and lower manufacturing costs while reducing their carbon footprint. Over thirty Linde on-site fluorine generators are installed on customer sites worldwide.
About The Linde Group
The Linde Gases Division, part of The Linde Group, is a leader in the international industrial and healthcare gases markets, providing compressed, bulk, specialty and medical gases, as well as chemicals to virtually all fields of industry globally. The company adds value to its customers' businesses through the provision of state-of-the art application technology, process know-how, services and equipment.
The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with around 49,100 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 12.868 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment - in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
For more information, see The Linde Group online at www.linde.com
Schüco – Green Technology for the Blue Planet. That means clean energy from solar products and windows. And the contribution that Schüco makes to the environment with pioneering building envelopes. To be more precise, with Energy3: Saving Energy – Generating Energy – Networking Energy. Window and façade systems not only save energy due to optimum thermal insulation, they also generate energy thanks to efficient solar solutions. This creates an excess of energy which can be used by means of intelligent networking. For building functions, as well as for everyday life. The result is a significant step towards energy self-sufficiency. Towards the sustainable conservation of natural resources. And for a secure future. With 5250 employees and 12,000 partner companies, Schüco is active in 78 countries worldwide and achieved turnover of 2.38 billion Euros in 2010.
For more information, visit www.schueco.com
1 Notes to editors
Potential CO2 reduction using Linde estimate
|Fab Cleaning Gas CO2 Equivalent Emissions|
|A||NF3 (tonnes/year) approximate usage per MW||1|
|B||GWP100 for NF3 (tons CO2 eq) ref ||17,200 tonnes|
|C||NF3 lifecycle emission ref : Scripps Institute measurements||16%|
|D||NF3 CO2 eq lifecycle emission ref : ECN/M&W-Z study||2,200 kg CO2 per kg NF3|
|E||NF3 lifecycle emission [Linde estimate]||10%|
|F||Customers plant capacity MW||60|
|G||Equivalent CO2 reduction at Schüco Großröhrsdorf using ref  = A x B x C x F||165,120 tonnes per year|
|H||Equivalent CO2 reduction at Schüco Großröhrsdorf using ref  = A x D x F||132,000 tonnes per year|
|I||Equivalent CO2 reduction at Schüco Großröhrsdorf using Linde estimate = A x B x E x F||103,200 tonnes per year|
 NF3 CO2 kg equivalent = 17,200 / kg NF3 from International Panel on Climate Control 2007.
 Weiss et al. Geophysical Research Letters, in press 31 October 2008, "Nitrogen trifluoride in the global atmosphere"; this assumes that NF3 used in a PV fab will have the same lifecycle emissions as Weiss et al. have determined is the average for NF3 processes over the last 30 years.
 de Wild-Scholten + Schottler. 'The Carbon Footprint of PECVD Chamber Cleaning using Fluorinated Gases' 23rd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Valencia 2008.
*Robson, J.I.; Gohar, L.K., Hurley, M.D., Shine, K.P. and Wallington, T. (2006). "Revised IR spectrum, radiative efficiency and global warming potential of nitrogen trifluoride" http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=17893800
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