“This first quarter of 2012 marks a milestone for our plant’s construction,” said Dr. Martin Richtberg, head of the Wacker Polysilicon construction project.
“Our most complex buildings have precast walls, which allow for the installment of our highly sophisticated system for producing hyperpure polysilicon.
These first three buildings to be erected are integral to our closed-loop process and the production of polysilicon.”
According to a statement issued Friday by the company, the precast buildings are fully enclosed production facilities. More than 5,000 precast components will be used to build these facilities, with 1,800 installed to date. More than 30 buildings, which will either be precast structures or cast-and-place steel structures, are planned for the site.
“These precast components are cast and made off site, away from the construction area, providing quality control in a controlled setting,” said Don Zierold, the project’s head of construction management. “All panels are cast at ground level in a horizontal position, improving the safety of personnel during the pour, allowing good dimensional tolerance control, and features like insulation.”
Ground preparation for the site began in December 2010. To date, more than 4 million cubic yards of dirt have been moved and more dirt continues to be moved every day for specific installations.
On an average full day, there are approximately 700 construction workers on the Charleston site.
Wacker Polysilicon is a global leader in the production of hyperpure polycrystalline silicon. Its product portfolio also includes pyrogenic silica, chlorosilanes and salt. Polysilicon is used throughout the semiconductor industry and in the growing photovoltaics sector. In 2010, the Wacker Polysilicon division of Wacker Chemie AG generated around 25 percent of the company’s sales.
The Wacker Polysilicon North America LLC plant in Charleston is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2013 with production beginning in 2014.
The $1.5 billion plant will produce about 15,000 kilotons of polysilicon annually and employ some 650 full-time workers.