The client sought to design and build a grassroots high-purity electronics-grade silane production plant to meet increased demand in the electronics industry and needed a proven process technology that was both cost-effective and a quick-to-market project delivery solution.
The client selected Koch Modular for its combination of process expertise, patented proven high-purity electronics grade silane process technology, it’s ability to pilot test and de-risk manufacturing process, and the ability to deliver a complete modular grassroots silane production facility with a lower overall risk profile than traditional field-erected construction.
Initial proof-of-concept pilot testing of the Silane manufacturing process was conducted at Koch Modular’s pilot plant in Houston, Texas, to ensure the final product met the client’s stringent high-purity specifications.
The overall process consisted of converting Metallurgic Grade Silicon (MSG) into a high-purity Trichlorosilane (TCS) intermediate via Hydrochlorination reaction and subsequent purification. TCS is then reacted and purified to electronics-grade silane.
The TCS Production Area process consists of reacting metallurgical grade silicon (MGS) with hydrogen and silicon tetrachloride (STC), to form dichlorosilane (DCS), trichlorosilane (TCS) organochlorosilanes, metal chlorides, metal-nonmetal compounds, and non-metal hydrides. The first step of TCS production uses Silicon Tetrachloride Hydrochlorination (STH) to form TCS and then separates the liquids from the gases. The second step purifies the TCS, recovers STC for recycling, and collects waste streams for concentration to recover chemicals for recycling, and inert solids for disposal.
The Silane production unit area converts high-purity TCS from the TCS Production Area to silane (SiH4) through two reaction steps and several distillation steps. The two disproportionation reactions involved in silane production from TCS are TCS to DCS and STC, and DCS to Silane and various chlorosilanes.
Based on in-house pilot testing results, Koch Modular successfully scaled the process from concept to commercialization. Koch Modular designed, fabricated, and delivered a fully modular silane production plant in the US for installation overseas. The plant includes multiple unit operations, such as three reaction steps, nine distillation steps, compression, and solid/gas separation. It produces high-purity trichlorosilane (TCS) intermediate and electronics-grade silane. The modular plant was delivered on time, enabling the client to meet the growing demand for electronics-grade silane and quickly recover their investment. It has been operational for over ten years.