United Silicon was founded in 2014 by M.Sc. Environmental Engineering Magnus Garðarsson, M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering Helgi Björn and Supreme Court attorney Friðbjörn Garðarsson, together with the Dutch partners Silicon Mineral Ventures, which handles sales and marketing, through their partner company BIT Fondel in their facilities in the harbor of Rotterdam.
The plant was built in the period from July 2014 to July 2016 and commissioned in August to November 2016, where the first production of silicon was produced in the Plant. The furnace inside the plant is a large 32 MW electric arc furnace, designed and build by Tenova Pyromet in Italy. The furnace is designed as a semi closed furnace with the aim to achieve the best energy efficiency, a clean process in mind and lowest emissions possible. Tenova Pyromet has also supplied all the other production equipment for the plant including the large air filter plant which stands on the top of the cliff, and some people think looks like a church.
The main idea of the founders to build a silicon production plant in Iceland was to use the clean renewable energy of Iceland to produce silicon in an environmental friendly way. Since the majority of the silicon produced at the plant is sold to customers who manufacture polysilicon for the solar industry, then the Icelandic renewable energy is exported and used to produce more renewable energy abroad in the sunny regions of the world. This is what we call “renewable to renewable”, when we describe the energy utilization of the Plant.
United Silicon is the only large scale industrial plant in Iceland, which is in majority ownership of Icelanders. Apart from the founders there are 32 shareholders, both from Iceland, Denmark and Holland, amongst the owners are 7 Icelandic pension funds and one Icelandic bank.
The furnace was recently given the name ISABELLA, during a ceremony in the plant before production was started.