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Solar energy firms 'pose pollution risk in China'

Green energy is a booming industry in China, but a byproduct from the manufacture of solar energy panels is highly toxic and poses environmental hazards, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
For the past four years the world has been suffering from a shortage of polysilicon, a key component in sunlight-capturing technology. With the price of polysilicon soaring from US$20 per kilogram to US$300 per kilogram in the past five years, Chinese companies are eager to fill the gap.

More than 20 Chinese companies are now starting polysilicon manufacturing plants, the report said. But a byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is toxic, and Chinese companies' methods for dealing with this waste are still imperfect.

"The land where you dump or bury it will be infertile. No grass or trees will grow in the place," the report quoted Ren Bingyan, a professor at the School of Material Sciences at Hebei Industrial University, as saying.

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