Silicium Québec SEC of Bécancour, QC is a member of the global Ferreoglobe group, and specializes in the transformation of quartz into silicon metal. Silicon metal is used in many electronic components and in alloys with aluminum and other industrial products throughout the world. The company uses large quantities of mineral coal, a non-renewable fossil material, which generates more than 80% of the GHG emissions at the Bécancour plant (+/- 150,000 Tm of CO2 eq. per year). The company therefore aims to replace mineral coal with a biochar composite made from wood pyrolysis and a binder.
The first phase of the project will consist of adapting a pilot pyrolysis unit at Innofibre to produce carbon neutral biochar and to determine the best binder compatible with the operation of the submerged arc furnaces at Silicium Québec SEC. The binder will reduce the friability of the biochar for a better reaction in the metallurgical furnaces and address the risks of self-combustion of the biochar. The second phase will be devoted to the development of the first composites in the laboratory (50 kg batch) before the first proof-of-concept tests of approximately 500 MT in the arc furnaces at the Bécancour plant. A third phase will be dedicated to the optimization of the biochar-binder mixture before the industrial validation stage (fourth phase) and the scale-up (fifth phase) of the composite and its manufacturing process. Phase five will require an investment of $16 million to replace an initial 8,000 MT of fossil coal. The Centre de métallurgie du Québec (CMQ) will be solicited for its expertise in metallurgy while UQTR will address with a PhD student the environmental footprint measurements throughout the project.
$ 1 500 000
Silicium Québec SEC
Cégep de Trois-Rivières