HPQ Silicon invests in PyroGenesis' PUREVAP technology for polysilicon production

HPQ Silicon has taken an investment gamble on a new technology to produce polysilicon, which it hopes will be the cleanest and lowest cost method for the company to produce high quality polysilicon that can be used by the solar industry. The agreement is not only for the intellectual property of the PUREVAP process, but also for a pilot plant that will be able to produce 200 metric tons per year.

The agreement stipulates that PyroGenesis Canada can still use the process for any purposes other than the production of silicon metal from quartz. It is a unique system of polysilicon production from quartz, which allegedly produces purity greater than 99.9% (>3N) in one step.

“Today marks a major milestone for HPQ Silicon and its shareholders,” said HPQ Silicon Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tourillon. “By unifying this fantastic technology under our brand and successfully scaling it up, we can accelerate our plan of becoming the cleanest, greenest and lowest cost vertically producer of Solar Grade Silicon Metal in the world.”

Alongside the intellectual property, HPQ has also agreed to purchase a PUREVAP Quartz Vaporization Reactor pilot system, which will produce 200 metric tons of polysilicon each year. The total installation and testing of the pilot plant is expected to take 24 to 28 months, and will initially be installed at PyroGenesis’ facility in Montreal, Canada. HPQ hopes that the pilot plant will be able to give some indication of the scalability of the process.

“We are very happy to be moving to the pilot scale with this process,” commented Pierre Carabin, director of engineering of PyroGenesis. “Throughout PyroGenesis’ history, we have successfully taken new concepts from the lab to commercialization. We plan to systematically and successfully ramp up the PUREVAP process to full commercial scale. Once successful, we believe the PUREVAP process portends to be a game changing, and enabling, technology.”

The move represents an educated gamble by HPQ Silicon, as it will be spending a combined total of CDN $8.3 million (US$6.3 million) on the intellectual property rights and the pilot plant. However, the company is confident that the move will pay off.

“Thanks to our great working relationship with PyroGenesis, combined with our ownership of the PUREVAP QVR intellectual property, HPQ Silicon is uniquely positioned to become an agent of change in the solar industry and beyond,” added Tourillon.