Emix uses multiphysics simulation to optimize its ultrapure silicon manufacturing process for solar applications.
Manufacturing photovoltaic solar panels requires the use of very high-purity silicon; in practice, the impurities present in metallurgical-grade silicon must be divided by a factor of 1,000 (0.1 %). This represents almost 30 % of the final cost of a solar panel. Reducing the level of impurities while producing at a lower cost is therefore vital in this field.
Julien Givernaud, Research Engineer at Emix, makes extensive use of numerical simulation with Comsol Multiphysics, to optimize the cold crucible continuous casting process. The magnetic field created by a coil is used to heat the silicon by induction, to mix it and to avoid pollution by contact with the crucible walls. Comsol Multiphysics enabled extensive testing of design, heat transfer, flow, electromagnetic and mechanical aspects. In the end, fewer tests were needed to achieve the target of 30 % of additional production, while reducing the furnace's energy consumption.
Read all about it in the article below.