New Production Process for Titanium
A new production process for titanium is scaling up. Anastasios “Taso” Arima, the founder and CEO of start-up IperionX announced the new process uses hydrogen assisted metallothermic reduction (HAMR) instead of carbon. The HAMR process is touted as sustainable with a lower processing cost.
The process was developed by metallurgist and Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah, Dr. Z. Zak Fang, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, their version of DARPA.
“Our pilot plant is producing six tons per annum,” Arima explained about his prototype facility in Utah. “But that furnace is an old one that doesn’t have active cooling. For the new ones we’re not only looking to triple the capacity, but we also will reduce the cycle time from three days down to a day.” The new furnace will produce 125 tons per annum, and the scaling strategy will be just to add furnaces in parallel. That easy scalability is important because the company can add capacity as demand warrants, rather than invest to build a huge factory and then have to find customers to keep it running.