MUNICH, GERMANY: Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, and Masdar PV GmbH, a manufacturer of large-scale, thin-film solar modules, have signed an agreement to qualify and adopt Linde’s on-site generated fluorine – a zero global warming solution for photovoltaic (PV) module process chamber cleaning.
This extension of the collaboration between the two companies is a key element of Linde’s drive to help accelerate the PV industry from grid parity to green parity.
Masdar PV will eliminate the use of the greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which has a global warming potential 17,200 times that of CO2, from their state-of-the-art thin-film production facility in Ichtershausen, near Erfurt (Germany).
Masdar’s philosophy of sustainable development and deployment of renewable energy and low carbon technologies is fully supported by Linde’s mature fluorine generation technology, which provides a more productive and energy efficient alternative to the use of Per-Fluoro-Compound (PFC) gases, including NF3, for chemical vapour deposition chamber cleaning.
“Fluorine cleaning is a win-win choice for thin-film solar cell manufacturers,” said Ian Travis, manager of Linde’s on-site Fluorine business. “In addition to removing any risk of unabated emissions, Fluorine reduces non-productive cleaning time and improves throughput. This is a rare situation where the interests of environmental responsibility and profit are aligned. We are delighted to be able to supply an immediate improvement on current technology to Masdar, as proof of Linde’s commitment to deliver efficiency through gas technology.”
“Our objectives are to deliver innovative, thin-film technology with an optimal cost-performance ratio,” said Dr. Matthias Peschke, Masdar’s Director of Operations & Engineering. “Using sustainable materials, hence significantly lowering the emissions in the production process, is another important differentiator for Masdar PV in a highly competitive market. Linde’s efforts in offering efficient and safe on-site fluorine technology to remove NF3 from our process are commendable.”
Linde has pioneered efforts to achieve the lowest carbon footprint possible for dry chamber cleaning in thin-film PV, TFT-LCD and semiconductor manufacturing by installing more than 30 Generation-F® on-site fluorine generators in the electronics industry.
Linde has established a leading position in gas and chemical supply to thin-film Si solar module manufacturers, supplying more than half of all the industry projects. The company also has a strong position in Crystalline Silicon, with nearly 40 percent market share. Linde is in a leading position in key markets such as Germany, Spain, China, Taiwan and India.