In recent years, demand from the electronics industry for cleaning gases for large flat panel display and silicon thin film photovoltaic manufacturing has grown significantly. To meet industry demand, Air Liquide has decided to broaden its offer by proposing an alternative to existing cleaning gases for its customers.
In addition to carrier and specialty gases and precursor materials used in the manufacturing process, it will also supply fluorine cleaning gas solutions. Starting in 2012, flat panel display and silicon thin film photovoltaic manufacturing sites will have access to this environmentally-friendly gas. Fluorine will become an alternative to nitrogen trifluoride gas (NF3), which is a commonly used cleaning application in this industry.
It will be produced directly by large on-site facilities, offering a cost effective and reliable approach to cleaning applications that will also allow customers to benefit from productivity enhancement. Air Liquide is joining forces with the Solvay Group in a worldwide joint venture to bring this offer to market, an undertaking that involves building, owning and operating the next generation of on-site fluorine solutions.
Air Liquide brings its global presence, infrastructure and existing gas supply relationships with leading manufacturers to the joint venture, a partnership that will also leverage Solvays 45 years of experience in running large-scale fluorine production and raw material supply chains. Establishment of the joint venture is subject to the approval of the appropriate antitrust authorities.
François Darchis, a member of Air Liquides Executive Committee, commented: This new step will allow Air Liquide to expand its offer in this fast growing electronics market. Solvay brings its field-proven fluorine production technology and expertise. By developing this non-greenhouse cleaning solution alternative for our customers, Air Liquide reiterates its commitment to environmental preservation. High-Tech solutions and the Environment are two of the Air Liquide Groups growth drivers.
Vincent De Cuyper, Group General Manager of the Chemicals Sector and Member of the Executive Committee of Solvay said: This partnership will help satisfy growing world demand for cleaning gases. The combination of market experience and know how from Air Liquide, the market leader in gases for the electronic industry, and Solvays proprietary breakthrough modular technology, will enable our partnership to offer significant economic benefits to its customers and bring at the same time advantages for the environment.