PCC. Creating Value Together in Iceland

Advanced silicon metal production plant in Iceland

In Iceland, we built one of the world’s most advanced and most environmentally compatible silicon metal production plants, which we commissioned in 2018. Silicon metal is used, among other things, as an aluminium alloyant; it is also employed in the chemicals industry for the manufacture of siloxanes and silicones.

Silicon metal production plant of PCC BakkiSilicon hf. as of April 2018.

Principal: PCC BakkiSilicon hf.
Location: Húsavík (Island)
Applications: Silicon metal is used in a wide variety of applications in the chemical industry, e.g. in the production of silicones and silanes, and in the production of high-strength aluminum alloys for the automotive industry. It is also a primary input material in the manufacture of photovoltaic modules.
Production capacity: 32,000 metric tons per year of silicon metal
Production process: Silicon metal is extracted from quartzite, aided by the addition of wood chip and coal, in electric arc furnaces at temperatures of around 2,000 degrees Celsius. The new plant obtains its key raw material quartzite primarily from PCC’s own quarry in Zagórze, Poland. However, the related logistical costs are more than outweighed by the advantages of electricity procurement. And the dust emissions generated during silicon metal production are almost completely removed from the ambient air by high-performance filter systems installed in the PCC plant. Taken as a whole, therefore, the production process offers exceptional sustainability credentials.
Site advantages in Iceland: The production process is very energy-intensive, which is why Iceland with its rich geothermal and hydropower resources and relatively favorable electricity costs is so suitable as a location. In March 2014, PCC BakkiSilicon hf. concluded a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Iceland’s biggest energy utility, Landsvirkjun. The favorable terms negotiated are guaranteed for 15 years and the contract includes an extension option. From 2018, during the first phase of operation, the plant will be supplied with 58 MW. Landsvirkjun developed a new geothermal energy source close to Húsavík and constructed a 90 MW power plant serving the entire new industrial area. The ensuing logistical costs for delivery of the raw materials to Iceland and shipment of the silicon metal to customers abroad are more than outweighed by the advantages in electricity procurement – both from an economic and an ecological point of view.
Customers: The silicon metal to be produced in Iceland has already been extensively earmarked for customers in German industry through long-term contracts. PCC is thus making an important contribution to securing supplies of silicon metal as an input material for value-adding production activities in Germany.