Innovative Technologies For Obtaining High Purity Silicon And Silicon-Containing Compounds


Materials - Semiconductors
Electronics - Semiconductors
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As one of the most used material in the semiconductor and photovoltaic markets, silicon is traditionally produced via the tedious Siemens method which require several repetitions of the process stages. While recent advances to produce solar-grade silicon are more cost-effective (monosilane pyrolysis in a fluidized bed reactor), the processes also dictate the use of high quality raw materials that need to undergo a minimum of three purification stages (direct purification of metallurgical-grade silicon), implying the need for the development of energy-efficient and simplified processes to produce high purity silicon.

The technology on offer provides two methods that resolves the limitations of existing processes to obtain high purity silicon and are suitable for countries with no deposits of natural quartzite and coal, but with large resources of quartz sand, cheap aluminum and cheap energy. The two methods of producing high purity silicon and silicon-containing compounds include:

i. Alumothermic reduction of silica sand in an induction melting furnace to produce polysilicon of 6N (99.9999%) and higher

ii. Ternary alloy route processes to produce gaseous monosilane obtain polysilicon of highest purity above 10N (99.99999999%)

Licensing of the technology includes transfer of know-how, design services and organization of relevant production.


Both methods to produce high purity silicon have the following attributes:

  • High process speeds
  • Low energy costs. Specific consumption of each method is listed as below:
    • Alumothermic reduction of silica: 4.95 kWh/kg
    • Slag-assisted refining of 2N Mg-Si: 1.4 to 2.3 kWh/kg
    • Ternary alloy route processes: 1.4 kWh/kg
  • Cost of the ultra-metallurgical grade 6N UMG-Si and innovative ternary alloy CaAl2Si2 is about USD3/kg
  • No loss of reducing agent due to high boiling point of aluminium
  • Induction melt furnaces required are simple and small in dimension


Potential applications include (but are not limited to):

  • Solar panels
  • Semiconductors
  • Production of 2N metallurgical-grade Mg-Si from silica sands (this metallurgical process is waste-free, environmentally friendly and can be used for the disposal of harmful waste of industrial microsilica powder wastes to obtain Mg-Si)
  • Purification of Mg-Si to the purity of 6N and higher
  • Synthesis of gaseous monosilane to produce polysilicon with a purity of 12N and higher (from ternary alloy CaAl2Si2)


  • Produced ultra-metallurgical grade 6N UMG-Si as well as innovative ternary alloy CaAl2Si2 are cheaper than 6N polysilicon spot prices
  • High process speeds and low energy costs
  • Cleaner recovery products compared to the carbothermic method
  • Environmental cleanliness of the metallurgical process
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