Wacker restarts U.S. polysilicon plant after eight-month halt
After investigating the cause of the hydrogen explosion that occurred on September 7, 2017 and repairing the damaged equipment and building, Wacker has restarted production at its U.S. polysilicon plant near Charleston, Tennessee.
A 24-inch piston, which had replaced the original 20-inch head piston of a hydrogen compressor in a revamp, caused the explosion. Wacker consequently announced it would return to the original compressor design.
At the reopening ceremony on May 4, the chairman of the company’s supervisory board, Peter-Alexander Wacker, apologized “for any confusion or anxiety the incident may have caused.” He stressed “our aspiration of being a responsible and fully transparent corporate citizen – despite some opposite comments I read on social media.”
Although high duties have been imposed on polysilicon imports from the U.S. into China, the largest polysilicon market worldwide, Chairman Wacker reaffirmed that “Charleston definitely is and will remain a cornerstone of our global growth strategy. This site provides us with the necessary capacity to meet increasing demand for our polysilicon in the years ahead.”
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