Four injured in ‘incident’ at Wacker’s US polysilicon factory

The German chemicals producer said that the issue involved four contractors doing maintenance on non-operational equipment.

An unspecified accident occurred on July 24 at German chemical producer Wacker‘s polysilicon factory in Tennessee, according to reports by several US media outlets.

“The incident occurred as four contractors performed maintenance work on non-operating equipment in one of the process buildings,” the company said in a statement to pv magazine. “The workers were servicing a pipeline which was out of operation. The four contractors were immediately transported to the hospital facilities for evaluation.”

The company said that the problem did not affect the local environment or the surrounding community in Charleston, Tennessee. But polysilicon analyst Johannes Bernreuter said that the incident is the latest in a series of problems that began a few months after the factory began production in early 2016.

“For such an established and experienced polysilicon manufacturer as Wacker, five incidents – including a major explosion – at its U.S. plant within four years are embarrassing,” Bernreuter said.

In mid-July, another polysilicon manufacturer, China-base GCL-Poly, was hit by a series of explosions at its GCL Silicon polysilicon plant. The accident has reportedly removed more than 10% of the world’s polysilicon supplies from production.

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