SisAl Pilot (external link) aims to demonstrate a patented novel industrial process to produce silicon (Si, a critical raw material), enabling a shift from today’s carbothermic Submerged Arc Furnace (SAF) process to a far more environmentally and economically alternative: an aluminothermic reduction of quartz in slag that utilizes secondary raw materials such as aluminium (Al) scrap and dross, as replacements for carbon reductants used today.
SisAl Pilot represents a path-breaking approach, and a strong contribution to “circularity” through industrial symbiosis where the Al industry will act as both a raw material supplier and end user to the Si industry. Across sectors, SisAl Pilot will give substantial reductions in material yield losses, enhanced valorisation of waste- and by-product streams, at a 3 X lower energy consumption and radically lower emissions of CO2 and harmful pollutants, at a considerably lower cost.
The SisAl Pilot project brings together
- raw material provider (Erimsa),
- silicon and aluminium key actors (Wacker, Elkem, DOW, Silicor, SiQAl, Hydro, FRey, Befesa, MYTIL),
- SMEs/consultants/ equipment manufacturers (BNW, SIMTEC, WS and SBC) and
- research organisations (NTNU, RWTH, NTUA, ITMATI, SINTEF, HZDR, MINTEK)
to demonstrate the SisAl process with different raw materials and product outputs in 4 different countries. These pilots will be accompanied by environmental, economic and technological benchmarking, and industrial business cases will be assessed for locations in Norway, Iceland, Germany, Spain and Greece.
The timing of SisAl Pilot is impeccable; the transformation to a circular economy, the strongly enhanced focus on climate and future expected EU-ETS CO2 allowances with associated risk for carbon leakage from Europe, the rapidly increased difficulty of exporting aluminium scrap from Europe to China, and modern society’s ever-increasing need for silicon metal. With SisAl, all these challenges are turned into new European opportunities.
The SisAl Pilot has started on 1st 1 Mai 2020 and is composed by a consortium of 21 partners. The EU project will be funded for four years within the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (under grant agreement number 869268) by the European Commission with a budget of more than 14 million euros.
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