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    Manufacturing silica and silicon-based material solutions

    HPQ Silicon is working towards delivering silica and silicon-based material solutions required for the future of battery and electric vehicle manufacturing.

    HPQ Silicon is a Quebec-based innovative technology development company developing silicon (Si) and silica (SiO2)-based material solutions.

    Si, or silicon metal, is a semiconductor material and the second most abundant element on Earth. Like the majority of other battery metals (lithium, graphite, cobalt, nickel, etc.), it does not exist in its pure state and must be extracted from the naturally occurring crystalline mineral quartz (SiO2).

    To extract it commercially, an expensive and energy-intensive carbothermic process (invented in 1899) is still utilised today to make metallurgic (98.5% Si) and chemical grade (99% Si) silicon. Chemical grade silicon needs to be further purified and re-engineered to create silicon-based materials depending on the application – such as solar technology, electronics, or batteries.

    This energy and resource-intensive usage is expensive and produces an abundance of carbon emissions, something the ESG investors of today look to avoid.

    In collaboration with world-class technology partners, such as PyroGenesis Canada Inc., HPQ’s key objective is to demonstrate its unique capacity to be the lowest-cost and low-emissions producer of high purity and value-added silicon materials. This includes the production of silicon nanopowders and nanowires required to manufacture next-generation lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles.

    HPQ has invested close to $10m in developing its PUREVAP™ technology. This innovative process will enable a one-step transformation of quartz (SiO2) into high purity silicon at a reduced cost, low energy use and a low carbon footprint.

    The company is committed to investing at least $1m in developing its nanotechnologies, which will enable the production of the silicon nanomaterials required for diverse industry applications. HPQ has also invested in green, electrolysis-based hydrogen to further its commitment to fostering sustainable, technological and scalable solutions.

    The massive global silicon market can be attributed to the diversity of products that silicon is a major component of and its potential in disruptive technologies.

    AREAS OF EXPERTISE:

    • Low-cost high purity silicon production;
    • Low-cost production of nano/micro spherical powders of different sizes and nanowires; and
    • Quartz to fumed silica transformation in one step, avoiding the production of hydrogen chloride gas (HCI).

    RESEARCH INTERESTS:

    • Green manufacturing of silicon;
    • Improving manufacturing efficiencies and resource utilisation in producing silicon;
    • Developing nano silicon needed to replace graphite in lithium battery anodes;
    • Researching the use of nano silicon to produce hydrogen through hydrolysis; and
    • Developing a process to use metallurgically upgraded silicon in the solar industry.

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