SOURCE: AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V.

December 21, 2010 11:38 ET

AMG acquires solar silicon casting technology from BP Solar International Inc.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS--(Marketwire - December 21, 2010) - AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. ("AMG," EURONEXT AMSTERDAM: "AMG") and BP Solar International Inc. ("BP Solar") announced that AMG has acquired intellectual property and manufacturing assets related to the "Mono2™" suite of solar casting technologies from BP Solar. Mono2™ is a proprietary process whereby high-efficiency monocrystalline-like silicon ingots are produced utilizing standard SCU furnaces using a variety of feedstock including polysilicon and upgraded metallurgical silicon.

The Mono2™ technology was developed by BP Solar in cooperation with the United States Department of Energy and will be integrated into AMG's Engineering Systems Division's (ALD Vacuum Technologies GmbH, ("ALD")) ALD SCU400plus and SCU600plus solar melting and crystallization vacuum furnaces. With a global installed capacity of over 3.5 GW peak or the equivalent of over 500 ALD SCU furnaces, AMG is recognized as a leading technology provider to the solar wafer industry. This transaction strengthens AMG's solar technology portfolio and also significantly expands AMG's presence in the United States, a solar market which is expected to grow substantially over the next several years.

In addition to acquiring intellectual property and equipment, an experienced team of scientists and engineers with significant expertise in silicon casting were transferred to AMG. AMG will continue research and development activities, using manufacturing operations at the BP Solar facility in Frederick, Maryland USA.

The proven Mono2™ technology uses a monocrystalline silicon substrate to facilitate the growth of polysilicon material with monocrystalline-like structures. These monocrystalline-like silicon ingots serve as the base material to produce low-cost, high efficiency solar cells. Mono2™ is expected to increase the efficiency of cells produced from ALD's SCU systems to above 17% at a competitive cost. The initial test ingots utilizing Mono2™ are expected to be produced in early 2011, with Mono2™ integrated furnace deliveries expected in the second half of 2011.

"The Mono2™ intellectual property combined with AMG's latest generation SCU furnaces will enable AMG to offer the most advanced integrated solar melting and crystallization technology and capital equipment product in the market", stated Dr. Heinz Schimmelbusch, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of AMG.

BP Solar will concentrate its research and development activities on customer- focused product/system integration initiatives and intellectual property to enhance BP Solar's cell and module products according to Mike Petrucci, President and CEO of BP Solar. In the balance of systems area, the company is aggressively expanding efforts to deliver advantage in power output, reliability, power management and streamlining the entire system implementation procedure- thereby further extending the life of BP Solar systems.

"We are pleased that this transaction of the Mono2™ technology with AMG will speed the availability of innovative solar cell technology to the market," said Petrucci. "Our objective is to leverage the work performed by BP Solar for the benefit of not only our company, but the entire sector," he said.


About AMG

AMG creates and applies innovative metallurgical solutions to the global trend of sustainable development of natural resources and CO2 reduction. AMG produces highly engineered specialty metal products and advanced vacuum furnace systems for the Energy, Aerospace, Infrastructure and Specialty Metals and Chemicals end markets. AMG consists of two operating divisions, Advanced Materials and Engineering Systems, and owns interests in publicly-listed companies Graphit Kropfmühl AG (Deutsche Börse: GKR.DE) and Timminco Limited (TSX: "TIM").

The Advanced Materials Division develops and produces specialty metals, alloys and high performance materials. AMG is a significant producer of specialty metals, such as ferrovanadium, ferronickel-molybdenum, aluminum master alloys and additives, chromium metal and ferrotitanium, for Energy, Aerospace, Infrastructure and Specialty Metal and Chemicals applications. Other key products include specialty alloys for titanium and superalloys, coating materials, tantalum and niobium oxides, vanadium chemicals and antimony trioxide.

The Engineering Systems Division designs, engineers and produces advanced vacuum furnace systems and operates vacuum heat treatment facilities, primarily for the Aerospace and Energy (including solar and nuclear) industries. Furnace systems produced by AMG include vacuum remelting, solar silicon melting and crystallization, vacuum induction melting, vacuum heat treatment and high pressure gas quenching, turbine blade coating and sintering. AMG also provides vacuum case-hardening heat treatment services on a tolling basis.

Graphit Kropfmühl AG is a majority controlled, publicly listed subsidiary of AMG. Based on its secure raw material sources in Africa, China and Europe, Graphit Kropfmühl is a specialist in the production of silicon metal and the extraction, processing and refining of natural crystalline graphite for a wide range of energy saving industrial applications.

Timminco Limited is a publicly listed affiliate of AMG. Timminco produces silicon metal for the chemical, aluminum, electronic and solar industries. Timminco also produces solar grade silicon, using its proprietary technology for purifying silicon metal, for the solar energy industry.

With over 2,300 employees, AMG operates globally with production facilities in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Czech Republic, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Sri Lanka and also has sales and customer service offices in Belgium, Russia, China and Japan (www.amg-nv.com).

About BP Solar

BP Solar, part of BP Alternative Energy, is a global company with about 1,600 employees. BP Solar designs, manufactures and markets solar energy products and provides complete solar energy solutions for the residential, commercial, industrial and utility sectors. With over 37 years of experience and installations in most countries, BP Solar is one of the world's leading solar companies. BP Solar invests more than $10 million annually in photovoltaic research and development.

About BP Alternative Energy

Launched in November 2005, BP Alternative Energy combines all of BP's interests in low and zero-carbon energy. To date, BP Alternative Energy has invested $4 billion of an $8 billion commitment through 2015 in: wind; solar; hydrogen power with carbon capture and storage; and biofuels.

Disclaimer

Certain statements in this press release are not historical facts and are "forward looking." Forward looking statements include statements concerning AMG's plans, expectations, projections, objectives, targets, goals, strategies, future events, future revenues or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs, plans and intentions relating to acquisitions, AMG's competitive strengths and weaknesses, plans or goals relating to forecasted production, reserves, financial position and future operations and development, AMG's business strategy and the trends AMG anticipates in the industries and the political and legal environment in which it operates and other information that is not historical information. When used in this press release, the words "expects," "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "may," "will," "should," and similar expressions, and the negatives thereof, are intended to identify forward looking statements. By their very nature, forward looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that the predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward looking statements will not be achieved. These forward looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. AMG expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in AMG's expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any forward looking statement is based.

AMG acquires solar silicon casting technology from BP Solar International Inc.


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Source: AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V. via Thomson Reuters ONE

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Contact Information

  • For further information please contact:
    AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group N.V.
    +1 610 975 4901
    Jonathan Costello
    Vice President of Corporate Communications
    jcostello@amg-nv.com

    BP Solar
    +1 415 284-1917
    Pete Resler
    Director of Communications
    pete.resler@bp.com