Administration Herøya Industripark AS

Phone: +47 35 92 65 00  

E-mail: hip@hipark.no  

Address 
Hydrovegen 55, 3936 Porsgrunn, Norway

Successful startup at Elkem Solar factory - record production rates and tip top quality

Enormously proud: "We are enormously proud of the high quality of our product, after starting up a completely new factory and employing a new furnace technology," says Works Manager Geir Ausland (left). "March was a milestone for us because the last of the four production lines came into use, and the financial figures were positive," agree Ausland and Production Manager Trude Nysæter with broad smiles.

Works Manager Geir Ausland and Production Manager Trude Nysæter from Elkem Solar at Herøya are seeing record production rates and tip-top quality following the startup of the world's most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly factory for the production of silicon blocks. 

Enormously proud: "We are enormously proud of the high quality of our product, after starting up a completely new factory and employing a new furnace technology," says Works Manager Geir Ausland (left). "March was a milestone for us because the last of the four production lines came into use, and the financial figures were positive," agree Ausland and Production Manager Trude Nysæter with broad smiles.

Elkem Solar has spent NOK 200 million and a whole year in remodelling and commissioning the world's most modern silicon factory at Herøya. The factory applies improved furnace technology to four production lines, all now currently in operation.  

Impressed

Ausland and Nysæter are impressed with the workforce, numbering over 200 in peak periods, who have simultaneously handled the rebuilding work, commissioning and factory production, and without a single accident.

"It's not every day that creating new jobs and starting up a new factory goes so smoothly. We imported a great deal of new technical skills and the personnel have shown lots of persistence. After all, starting up a new factory can never be pain-free. Everyone in the organisation has proved more than equal to the challenges," Ausland says.

New technology

Production Manager Nysæter has a central role and knows the process inside out.

Automation: Process Operator Roy T. Wang pays close attention while a robot positions the silicon in exactly the right place.

"Starting up a factory with new technology is a tremendously exciting task," she tells us enthusiastically. "We have improved the furnace technology, we use unmanned trucks and have automated processes such as crucible placement. The crucibles are filled with the raw silicon from Elkem in Kristiansand. And the raw material is made just so the robots are able to handle it," she explains. "We are part of the total value chain, from quartz to solar cell, and that's something we can use to our advantage!"

Learning a lot

"Our skills level has gone up considerably over this period," Nysæter explains. "You always assume that everything will work fine straight away, but new equipment doesn't always react as you hope. We have run our training in parallel, and it is impressive to see how much we have learned, and how much we can get to work as it is."

Production records

Nysæter is eager to talk about production records:

"We have set and continue to set new weekly records. With our new furnace technology, we have the highest achievable efficiency for multi-crystalline processes. We put so much more silicon in the furnace now than was done before. The weight of our silicon ingots has more than doubled since REC used the same furnaces. And each furnace run produces enough silicon to make 70,000 solar cells.

World-beating: "The silicon blocks we make here are world leaders in size, quality and cost-efficiency," says Production Manager Nysæter with a smile. 

Awards for low carbon footprint

Sunlight seems to be the most attractive energy form at the moment. Of all the new energy sources, according to Ausland, solar energy accounts for the greatest installed volume in 2016.  And, in his opinion, the energy market is interested in low carbon footprints.

"Low footprints are favoured by customers, and we are starting to see that France, for example, is awarding prizes for such products. And that's really good news for us!" he says.

"We currently make the best quality silicon in the world with the smallest environmental footprint. And this is in competition with the world leaders. The solar cells I installed in my house in 2015 and which were judged to be the best modules two years ago, are now middle of the range. That's why we are working to make improvements more rapidly than the others in every area," says the Works Manager, who right now is happiest taking credit for starting up the solar industry in Herøya together with his fellow factory managers.

Developed by Aplia - Powered by eZ PublishCookies