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As the worldwide leader in gas supply to the photovoltaic industry, Air Liquide is able to respond promptly with the right solution for technology problems and, most important of all, create value for its customers.

Higher efficiency photovoltaic systems for lower cost

The use of solar energy to meet the electricity needs – of individuals, power plants, remote sites, etc. – is on the rise. Amid fossil fuel scarcity and environmental awareness, the global solar photovoltaic end-market is undergoing rapid expansion with increasing cost-per-watt competitiveness. 

Photovoltaic manufacturers are looking for partners to help develop and deploy new technologies that create higher efficiency and lower the cost of produced electricity per watt.

Partnering with the photovoltaic industry

Air Liquide is partnering with the photovoltaic industry to innovate and create new materials.

Since investing in monosilane production in Japan for the semiconductor and photovoltaic industries in 1987, Air Liquide has been committed to accompanying the industry towards sustainability, profitability and growth. Extensive R&D, academic collaborations, and innovative product offerings, are just some examples of the work in the field, to respond promptly with the right solution for technology problems and create value for our customers.

Innovation for a brighter future

As the world turns to renewables, solar photovoltaic system installation has been steadily increasing. The global solar photovoltaic end-market has maintained double-digit growth in certain geographies, with various financial supports from governments. 

To provide more affordable solar energy, the entire photovoltaic supply chain is in need of new materials and technologies that drive panel performance up and costs down. After a long period of evolution, solar photovoltaic manufacturing has split into two main fields: crystalline silicon (c-Si) with 90% of the global production, and thin film (TF) solar.

A leading supplier across the entire photovoltaic supply chain

For polysilicon, silicon ingot and crystalline silicon based cells manufacturers, Air Liquide ensures a safe and uninterrupted supply of specialty materials, including:

  • Electronics specialty materials (also called specialty gases) such as silane, ammoniac, and nitrous oxide delivered in Jumbo™ bulk containers
  • Electronics advanced materials for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) such as germane, boron tribromide and aluminum precursor

The challenge of making photovoltaic electricity competitive

Air Liquide supplies specialty gases (silane, ammoniac, etc.), and advanced precursors. These gases and precursors are used to:

  • Etch silicon wafers
  • Render them semiconducting, i.e., able to produce electricity via the diffusion of phosphorus
  • Cover them with an anti-reflection coating to maximize light transmission
  • Improve yields with innovative coatings

The challenge is to provide efficient precursors that allow manufacturers to optimize their production costs and, in so doing, make photovoltaic electricity competitive.

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