ABB automates solar cell chemical technology


Source: ABB

The expansion will enable Evonik to triple production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, raw material in the production of photovoltaic (PV) silicon. PV silicon is the substance from which solar-grade silicon wafers are made, which are the key components in solar cells and solar power systems.

Evonik is the world’s leading supplier of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, and the only company to operate dedicated chlorosilane production sites for the fast-growing solar energy industry.

The company’s lead site for the production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes is at Bitterfeld in Germany, which is one of the largest chemical parks in Europe.

When the Bitterfeld plant expansion is completed early in 2009, it will be linked by pipeline to an adjoining factory currently being built by PV Crystalox Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-crystalline wafers for solar cell modules.

To ensure production reliability and process excellence at the site, Evonik selected ABB to evolve and expand the existing distributed control system into a new plant-wide solution.

The solution is based on ABB’s flagship automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA – ranked by automation industry analyst ARC Advisory Group as the world’s leading distributed control system.

The solution enables Evonik to enhance its existing ABB Advant open control system to the latest version of System 800xA without interrupting production at the plant.

It allows Evonik to retain existing application programs and AC450 controllers and integrate them with new AC800M and AC800M HI (high integrity) controllers, Information Management software and System 800xA workplaces. ABB is also providing S900 explosion-proof I/O modules for high-risk production zones.

ABB supplied a similar solution for chlorosilane production to Wacker Chemie in for its production plant in Neunchritz, Germany, and is supplying the power plant automation system for Europe’s largest solar power plant, currently under construction in Spain.

Key features of Evonik's installation based on System 800xA include:

  • integrated safety and control functions
  • emergency shutdown and rapid restart in critical situations
  • full installation without interrupting production at the existing plant
  • Evonik retains existing application programs which are integrated with new controllers, software and workplaces

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