Honeywell to supply controls for solar panel material plant

July 30, 2008 – Honeywell will design and install the core process and safety systems for a new plant under construction by Hoku Materials that is planned to produce polysilicon, a key material needed to produce solar panels. The solar power market is currently estimated to be a $10 billion business, with realistic potential to expand to $30 billion by 2010. Serving as the Integrated Main Automation Contractor (I-MAC) and sole automation equipment supplier, Honeywell will engineer a tightly integrated solution that will help the Pocatello, Idaho plant produce 3,500 tons of polysilicon per year. The system will include distributed control, batch management and safety technology.

Hoku Materials is planning to initiate pilot production by the end of 2008 and expects to begin commercial shipments in the first half of 2009. The plant would then continue to ramp up to full capacity until the beginning of 2010.

“We developed our construction schedule to enable us to begin shipments as soon as possible, which means on-time delivery of the process control system is important to business success,” said Dustin Shindo, Hoku Scientific chairman and chief executive officer. “Honeywell has a proven track record for completing automation projects on time. Its extensive technology portfolio allows us to tap a single source for critical plant systems, which will streamline both operations and costs.”

As the I-MAC, Honeywell will take an integrated approach to designing all automation and control components that can help the plant operate safely, reliably and efficiently. The company will provide its Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS) platform to serve as the backbone of this system, which will coordinate and control all polysilicon deposition vessels.

Experion will control all plant processes, as well as deliver information from critical plant subsystems directly to operators to aid decision making in the control room. Hoku Materials will also utilize Honeywell’s Safety Manager, which integrates safety systems such as fire and gas detection technology to help protect employees and carefully coordinate safety shutdown procedures. Additionally, Safety Manager will protect the plant’s gas recovery process to help prevent explosive situations and allow the recovered gas to be reused. Honeywell will provide the gas detection technology used in the solution.

Hoku Materials will also simplify plant operations with Experion Batch Manager, an embedded function in Experion that allows operators to increase production by executing batches at the control level. This function makes the system more reliable and easier to maintain, and enable the plant to bypass separate servers traditionally needed to execute batch recipes.

“Alternative energy has never been a more important issue than it is today, and new facilities such as Hoku Materials’ Pocatello plant will be key to meeting the growing global demand,” said Tracey Haslam, Regional General Manager for Honeywell Process Solutions. “There truly is no time to waste when it comes to bringing new facilities like this online. The goal of Honeywell’s I-MAC approach is to get a plant up and running as quickly and safely as possible while giving manufacturers the tools they need to keep it running smoothly and profitably.”

Honeywell International is a $37 billion diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London and Chicago Stock Exchanges. Honeywell Process Solutions is part of Honeywell’s Automation and Control Solutions group, a global leader in providing product and service solutions that improve efficiency and profitability, support regulatory compliance, and maintain safe, comfortable environments in homes, buildings and industry.
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