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Umicore Opens “World’s Most Advanced” Germanium Wafer Production Facility

The facility is the only germanium (Ge) wafer manufacturer with high volume Ge wafer production facilities on two continents, North America and Europe.

The advanced germanium wafer production facility was officially opened on Tuesday October 12th with almost 100 guests attending the Grand Opening event at Umicore’s Quapaw site (OK, USA), including Umicore’s CEO Marc Grynberg and Oklahoma’s Secretary of Commerce Natalie Shirley.

Two years after the ground-breaking ceremony in October 2008, installation work and testing were successfully completed. The new facility makes materials technology group Umicore the only germanium (Ge) wafer manufacturer with high volume Ge wafer production facilities on two continents, North America and Europe, enabling the group to respond flexibly to the demand for top quality Ge wafers in a growing market.

The company invested several tens of millions of US dollars in the 40,000 square foot facility, creating new high technology jobs in the area.

Carl Quaeyhaegens, General Manager at Umicore’s Substrates Business Line, stated, “ Global demand for Ge wafers is set to rise significantly in the years to come. This is why we pursue an ambitious production expansion plan. With our production facilities in the United States and Belgium, we are now in an ideal position in terms of quantity and quality to meet rising demand. In addition, Quapaw will enable us to strengthen our global lead in 6 inch Ge wafers”.

Germanium wafers are a core component of triple junction (III-V) high-efficiency solar cells used on the vast majority of all satellites launched today. Triple junction (III-V) solar cells based on germanium wafers are also widely used in terrestrial Concentrated PV systems (CPV), an emerging, highly promising, and cost-efficient PV technology, for areas with high direct sunlight irradiation levels. (DNI).

Umicore is a materials technology group. It focuses on application areas where it knows its expertise in

materials science, chemistry and metallurgy can make a real difference. Umicore generates approximately 50% of its revenues and spends approximately 80% of its R&D budget in the area of clean technology, such as emission control catalysts, materials for rechargeable batteries and photovoltaics, fuel cells, and precious metals recycling. Umicore’s overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on this ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfils its mission: materials for a better life.

The Umicore Group has industrial operations on all continents and serves a global customer base; it generated a turnover of € 6.9 billion (€ 1.7 billion excluding metal) in 2009 and currently employs some 14,300 people.
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