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Linde was selected as the preferred supplier as the company was able to offer a highly integrated end-to-end solution combining both specialty gas supply and specialty equipment installation. Implementation at Topsil’s green-field plant at Copenhagen's CleanTech Park was completed by March 2012.
As part of the integrated solution, Linde will supply high purity argon and nitrogen which will be used to grow the silicon crystals in order to produce ultra-thin silicon wafers, plus electronic gases phosphine and diborane - essential to help create a silicon wafer free from any impurities. The purity of all these gases - and the prevention of contamination during storage and transportation to the point of manufacture - is critical for the production of an ultra-pure silicon crystal. Without this surety, costs of production can increase significantly as batches of expensive silicon can be rendered unusable.
"Crystalline silicon wafers are the backbone of the global microelectronics industry and Topsil's wafers play a prominent role in a wide variety of high power semiconductor applications including operation of clean energy sources such as wind turbines", said Steve Harrison, Head of Specialty Gases and Specialty Equipment, Linde Group. "Not only are we proud to support a customer involved at the cutting edge of clean technology, but this contract illustrates our long-standing expertise in specialty gases and our ability to provide a total solution ensuring quality and safety across the entire gas delivery process."
In addition to maintaining purity standards required for wafer production, a highly reliable gas piping system, along with other specialty gas equipment will be installed to mitigate any escape of gas – particularly of the phosphine and diborane as they are both toxic and ignitable gases. The installation will include over 1.6 kilometres of stainless steel piping for the transportation of the gases. Linde will also install an alarm system alerting Topsil technicians when gas supplies are running low, ensuring no unplanned production down time.
"We were looking for a reliable partner that would be able to support not just with the supply of specialty gases meeting our exacting purity requirements, but also with the complete design and installation of the central gas system. The comprehensiveness of Linde's proposal, along with their expertise and proven track record of competence and innovation in the specialty gas market made them a natural choice for us as a full-range partner" said Jens Lillegaard, Project Manager at Topsil.
The location of Topsil's new facility, Number One Silicon Road, was inaugurated by Denmark's minister of climate and energy, Lykke Friis, and is the first development to be built in Copenhagen's CleanTech Park. The innovative business estate is part of the Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster (CCC), which aims to create close cooperation between the companies, knowledge institutions and business incubation environments in the Greater Copenhagen Area. CCC's long term goal is to create a world leading clean-tech cluster.