China’s GCL-Poly Begins Construction of a 54,000 MT Polysilicon Facility

The technology used is 30% cheaper than conventional silicon manufacturing processes

September 11, 2020


Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon, a subsidiary of Chinese major GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, announced the ground breaking of the first phase of its 54,000 metric tonnes (MT) polysilicon manufacturing facility using a recently acquired fluidized bed reactor (FBR), the company said in a recent statement.

Plans involve increasing capacity to 30,000 MT by June 2021 and further expanding it to 54,000 MT by the end of 2021. Total capacity will be ramped up to 100,000 MT at a cumulative investment of $ 688 million. 

The plan includes using a fluidized bed reactor method for mass production of silicon at the facility. According to GCL-Poly, this method of mass production of silicon requires fewer post-processing steps. In comparison to conventional methods, this technology uses 65% less power, 30% lesser workforce, and is 30% cheaper.

Silicon produced with this technology is spherical, exhibits good mobility, and meets the size requirements of compounding materials better. It eliminates the necessity of crushing, thereby avoiding losses and the risk of the introduction of impurities during crushing.

GCL-Poly acquired this technology in 2016 from — SunEdison and intends to switch to the new technology. Silicon produced by the facility with the technology can be potentially used to replace existing rod-shaped silicon with the next generation of silicon material.

The development assumes significance since the price of polysilicon, an essential raw material for solar photovoltaic cells, was expected to rise following an explosion at GCL-Poly’s Xinjiang production facility, according to California-based investment banker ROTH Capital Partners. Reports suggest that the explosions may have resulted in almost 10% of global polysilicon production capacity going offline.

In a recent report, ROTH said that its checks revealed that GCL Poly might only recover a portion of production in September as production lines at the Xinjiang facility were unaffected by the accident and were being ramped back up.

“For the production lines affected by the blast, it appears a full recovery may not occur until October or November,” ROTH said.


Image credit: Bluebird Solar / CC BY-SA