- Elkem has secured NOK 16 million financing to work on producing CO2 free silicon
- It plans to capture carbon oxides in the off gas from smelting furnaces, convert it to solid carbon and reuse in the process
- Elkem will work on the project from 2022 to 2024 with SINTEF, NORCE and Future Materials as research partners
Elkem has raised NOK 16 million ($1.78 million) from the Research Council of Norway to develop a new concept to produce ‘CO2 free’ silicon. The Norwegian producer of metals and minerals claims, this could become a ‘game changer’ for the global silicon industry. Elkem produces silicon for polysilicon applications in solar industry.
“Elkem’s goal with this project is to develop a concept that eliminates all direct CO2 emissions from silicon production. Carbon oxides in the off gas from the smelting furnaces will be captured, converted to solid carbon, and reused in the process. In short: Silicon production with carbon looping,” explained Elkem’s Senior Vice President for Technology Håvard Moe.
Elkem aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 28% by 2031 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 as currently the annual direct CO2 emissions from its smelters adds up to 2.1 million tons, accounting for close to 90% of its total direct emissions. With the help of NOK 16 million, it wants to ascertain how to achieve carbon neutrality at the lowest environmental footprint and competitive costs.
Elkem will run the project from 2022 to 2024 as project owner, along with Norwegian research institutes SINTEF and NORCE along with pilot test center Future Materials as research partners.
Moe added, “If and when we succeed, this may become a game changer for the global silicon industry. We believe that this is a strong candidate to become a main technology for carbon neutral silicon production beyond 2050.”