Purification of metallurgical grade silicon (MG-Si) by the plasma-arc zone melting method (PZM) has been examined. The process consisted in the horizontal displacement of a molten zone heated by Ar- and 10%H2+Ar- plasma-arc under atmospheric pressure. This technique, especially using hydrogen plasma-arc, promoted the segregation of impurities from the head to the tail of the bar and the vaporization of impurities of higher vapor pressures. Metallic impurities such as Fe, Ti, Cr, Mn, Cu, Al and Ca were reduced to less than 1 mass ppm at the head side of the Si bar. Non-metallic impurities such as boron, phosphorous, carbon and oxygen were also reduced by the zoning effect and, furthermore, by activated hydrogen atoms dissociated in the high temperature plasma-arc according to the following reaction: O (in liq.Si) + 2H = H2O. Plasma-arc zone melting with hydrogen plasma has been recognized to become an effective purification technique of MG-Si for the production of a low cost solar grade Si (SOG-Si).