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Wacker has invested $1.84B over 25 years at Nunchritz, Germany, unit

Aug 06, 2023

NUNCHRITZ, Germany—For 25 years, Wacker's silicone and polysilicon production site along the banks of the Elbe River has been the focus of both investments and expansions.

At the quarter-century mark, Wacker Chemie A.G. has tallied about $1.84 billion in investments at the site. And with about 1,500 employees today, the production site represents the largest employer in Saxony, the state in which the facility sits in eastern Germany.

"Transforming the Nunchritz plant into one of the world's largest and most modern production facilities for silicon-based chemicals is no easy task and a large-scale project of such complexity can only be accomplished by working as a team," Wacker CEO Christian Hartelsaid in a news release. "The entire success of the project depends on the commitment and cooperation of all parties involved."

Hartel added that Nunchritz, which became operational in 1998, has been one of Wacker's most profitable and successful sites.

"Since 2001, we have commissioned a large number of new facilities for silicones and their upstream products," he said. "Existing facilities, too, have been expanded significantly.

"And, since 2010, we have been producing polysilicon, the most important raw material for semiconductors and solar cells. In terms of production technology, the Nunchritz plant now plays in the 'Champions League' and can hold its own against any other site."

The price of electricity in Germany is not helping matters, Hartel said.

"Energy is the lifeblood of the chemical industry," Hartel said. "If it is not available in sufficient quantities and at a competitive rate, entire industries and value chains will be at stake."

Hartel and Wacker for years now have lobbied for an industrial electricity price of 4 euro cents per kilowatt-hour as an interim solution until sufficient green energy is available at a more favorable price.

Wacker produces more than 200 different silicone grades at the Nunchritz site, along with fumed silica and hyper-pure polycrystalline silicon metal for the solar industry.

The plant also operates a cartridge-filling facility for silicone adhesives and sealants.

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