ABB automates solar cell chemical plant | Automation.com

ABB automates solar cell chemical plant

ABB automates solar cell chemical plant
July 30, 2008 - Evonik Industries, a leading chemical, energy and real estate company based in Essen, Germany, is the world’s largest producer of ultra-pure chemicals for the photovoltaic industry. It chose ABB’s flagship System 800xA automation platform to control the complex production process at its new site expansion in Germany. The expansion will enable Evonik to triple production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, raw material in the production of photovoltaic (PV) silicon.

PV silicon is the substance from which solar-grade silicon wafers are made; they are the key components in solar cells and solar power systems.Evonik is the world’s leading supplier of ultra-pure chlorosilanes, and the only company to operate dedicated chlorosilane production sites for the fast-growing solar energy industry.

The company’s lead site for the production of ultra-pure chlorosilanes is at Bitterfeld in Germany, which is one of the largest chemical parks in Europe.

When the Bitterfeld plant expansion is completed early in 2009, it will be linked by pipeline to an adjoining factory currently being built by PV Crystalox Solar, the world’s largest manufacturer of multi-crystalline wafers for solar cell modules.

To ensure production reliability and process excellence at the site, Evonik selected ABB to evolve and expand the existing distributed control system into a new plant-wide solution. The solution is based on ABB’s flagship automation platform, Extended Automation System 800xA.

The solution enables Evonik to evolve its existing ABB Advant open control system to the latest version of System 800xA without interrupting production at the plant.

It allows Evonik to retain existing application programs and AC450 controllers and integrate them with new AC800M and AC800M HI (high integrity) controllers, Information Management software and System 800xA workplaces. ABB is also providing S900 explosion-proof I/O modules for high-risk production zones.

ABB supplied a similar solution for chlorosilane production to Wacker Chemie in for its production plant in Neunchritz, Germany, and is supplying the power plant automation system for Europe’s largest solar power plant, currently under construction in Spain.

Key features of Evonik's installation based on System 800xA include:
  • Integrated safety and control functions
  • Emergency shutdown and rapid restart in critical situations
  • Full installation without interrupting production at the existing plant
  • Evonik retains existing application programs which are integrated with new controllers, software and workplaces

    ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 115,000 people.

    Image caption: Solar photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity and many solar photovoltaic power stations have been built in Europe, like this 11-megawatt power plant in Serpa, Portugal, 124 kilometers south of Lisbon.
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