The linear electric molten zone produced by passing an electric current in a silicon ribbon may be used to create a floating molten zone specially suited for a recrystallization process. A one-dimensional heat transfer numerical model of a linear electric molten zone is developed. Simulation results show the electric current concentration mechanism, and describe the effect of parameters such as the auxiliary radiative input power, or the ribbon thermal conditioning and geometry on the temperature profile and the molten zone width. It is shown that producing a linear molten zone electrically, is about half as energy intensive as if this were done solely by radiative heating. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.