The Ferrosolar project: industrial R&D&I for new applications of silicon

Ferroglobe is one of the leading materials innovation companies in the world. It arose in 2016 as the merger of the Spanish company FerroAtlántica and the american group Globe Specialty Metals Inc. It is at the forefront of silicon-based alloys production, but also provide manganese, ferrosilicon alloys and silica fume among others. Beyond metal-related industries, it is also involved in hydro-electrical power generation and mining.

The Company is organized into several Business Areas divided into Operational Units located all around the world. The Silicio Ferrosolar division was created in 2008 as part of the FerroAtlántica group to further develop purification technologies and to integrate all these technologies in a complete process to obtain solar-grade silicon (purity 99.9999%) to produce PV solar cells.

As a result of an intensive effort, investing significant human and financial resources during years, the Ferrosolar R&D and Innovation division has developed several technologies for silicon purification in order to produce different qualities of silicon. They are based on technological process developed by the own group which are more environmentally friendly and much more energy efficient. Some of these technologies are related with Electromagnetic Cold Crucible (EMCC), Fast Segregation Systems (FSS), Induction Furnaces, Vacuum Furnaces and crushing machines.

Ferrosolar division is continuously developing and improving its portfolio. After the developed solar silicon process is in place in a new factory they are engaged in the development of silicon for Anodes of Li-ion Batteries, silicon for thermoelectric generators (TEG), silicon for special ceramics and NanoSilicon. To attempt this task, its R&D department maintains several contacts with University research groups and technological centers.

In this talk, different aspects of Silicio Ferrosolar activities will be addressed, emphasizing the importance for the company of developing mathematical solutions for scientific challenges based on real-life applications.

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