SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In a move to boost its solar and IC efforts, materials supplier Voltaix Inc. said that it has received $12.5 million in financing from Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp.
The investment will accelerate Voltaix' manufacturing capacity expansion. The company is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, with expertise in silicon, germanium and boron technologies. Its products include germane, silicon tetrafluoride, trimethylsilane and Silcore.
Voltaix (Branchburg, N.J.) manufactures electronic chemicals and gases for chip applications. It also makes CVD precursors for production of advanced photovoltaic cells.
The company, the former ChemOvonic Division of Energy Conversion Devices Inc., was spun off as an independent business in 1986. In 1998, the company acquired Florida Scientific Laboratories Inc.
Like many materials suppliers, Voltaix is expanding its solar efforts. In recent times, the company announced expansion of its germane manufacturing capacity to meet growing demands in the solar and semiconductor industries.
It also announced an increase in trimethylboron manufacturing capacity. Trimethylboron, a stable boron source, is a key material for the production of thin-film solar cells.
One startup, XsunX Inc., recently announced that it has secured supply of germane gas required for its thin-film deposition process for its solar panels. The germane, manufactured by Voltaix, is a key material for production of tandem solar cells.
XsunX is refurbishing and existing 90,000-square-foot building, located in Wood Village, near Portland, Oregon, to house its new manufacturing operations.
Intel could be the latest customer for the materials maker. ''Materials innovation is critical to enabling new capabilities in semiconductor device manufacturing,'' said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president, in a statement. ''Our financing of Voltaix is part of Intel Capital's manufacturing strategy to foster innovation around integrated circuit manufacturing and complementary cleantech areas such as thin film photovoltaics.''
Intel itself is making a big push in solar. Intel is spinning off an internal startup business in the solar-cell arena.
The internal solar unit, formerly inside Intel's New Business Initiatives group, is being spun-off into a new company called SpectraWatt Inc.
Intel recently invested 24 million euros (about $37.5 million) into Berlin-based solar module manufacturer Sulfurcell GmbH. The company produces monolithic solar modules that feature a high efficiency. The move is part of Intel's clean tech investment strategy.