Globe Metals to reopen,
creating 100 new jobs in Niagara Falls
The Buffalo News
Updated: 07/10/08 09:18 AM
Niagara Falls metallurgy plant on way to $20 million makeover
Silicon producer to get new filter
By Denise Jewell Gee
NEWS NIAGARA BUREAU
NIAGARA FALLS — When
the first furnace fires up in the Globe Metallurgical plant on
Highland Avenue later this year, it will have a new filter and more
efficient technology to help reduce fumes that escape as silicon is
A $20 million initial
upgrade to reopen the plant and begin producing metallurgical-grade
silicon by the end of the year will include new filters that can
capture more emissions than the existing system, plant
representatives said Wednesday.
“The goal is to
really make this a cleaner operation than perhaps it has been in the
past,” said Adam S. Walters, an attorney with Phillips Lytle.
Walters and other
representatives for Globe Specialty Metals gave members of the
Niagara Falls Planning Board an informal presentation Wednesday night
to outline upgrades that will take place as the company reopens the
shuttered silicon plant.
Globe Specialty Metals,
which acquired the Niagara Falls plant in 2006, announced in May that
it plans to reopen the plant and expand it to produce solar-grade
silicon that can be used to make products for the solar power
The plant had been closed
The first phase of the
project will focus on reopening the plant and restarting its two
existing furnaces so it can begin producing 30,000 tons of
metallurgical- grade silicon annually.
Davis, Globe’s vice president of operations, said he expects
the first furnace to begin running by December and the second furnace
to begin running in the spring.
The first phase, which
will cost $20 million and include upgrading plant equipment to make
it more efficient, will employ 100 people, Davis said.
The company plans to
invest a total of $60 million by 2011 to add operations to the plant
that will allow it to produce 4,000 tons of high-purity silicon that
can be used in the production of solar panels. The solar-quality
silicon will be produced by Solsil Inc.
Solsil and Globe
Metallurgical are subsidiaries of Globe Specialty Metals.
The project has received a
40-megawatt allocation of low-cost power from the New York Power
Authority and is expected to employ 500 people when the plant is in
full production. The company has agreed to sell 25 percent of the
high-grade silicon to companies located in New York.
During the first phase of
the project, the plant’s equipment and furnace filter systems
will be repaired or replaced. Two fiberglass bag houses that capture
fumes released from the furnaces will be replaced with more modern
membrane bags that capture more emissions, said Ron Hawks, of the
consultanting firm Environmental Quality Management.
“All of these
systems, the intent is to make them more reliable so that there will
be no spillage of materials, no fumes,” Hawks said.
Hawks compared the bag
houses to bags on vacuum cleaners that collect debris.
The plant will sell the
two main byproducts of the silicon-making process. Gases that are
captured from the furnaces are sold to concrete industries. Dross, or
metal skimmed from the molten silicon as it is purified, is also
sold, said Matt Greene, environmental manager of Globe Metallurgical.