AIST John F. Elliott Lecture: Electrochemical Pathways Towards Sustainable Metals Extraction

September 14, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
GB 119
35 St George St
Toronto, ON M5S 1A4

AIST John F. Elliott Lectureship

Thursday, September 14, 2017 | 3pm – 4pm | GB 119

Title: Electrochemical Pathways Towards Sustainable Metals Extraction

Donald R. Sadoway
John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The road to sustainability is paved with electrochemical technology. In metals production, whether it be the problem of the carbon intensity associated with iron making in the blast furnace (~½ ton carbon to produce a ton of iron) or aluminum smelting in the Hall-Héroult cell (~½ ton carbon to produce a ton of aluminum) or the problem of dioxin generation as a side reaction to the conversion of titanium dioxide into titanium tetrachloride, electrochemical technologies can enable radical innovation in concert with sustainable development. Examples of applied electrochemistry in action will be illustrated in two different settings: metals production by molten oxide electrolysis (MOE), which is the electrolytic decomposition of a metal oxide into molten metal and oxygen gas. MOE represents an environmentally sound alternative to today’s carbon-intensive thermochemical metals reduction processes and can be used not only for primary metals production but also remediation of hazardous waste; a variant of MOE called molten sulfide electrolysis (MSE), which is the electrolytic decomposition of a metal sulfide into molten metal and elemental sulfur (no emission of sulfur dioxide). The key features of MOE are the following:

๏  reduce environmental impact

๏  reduce metal production costs: capital and operating

๏  provide flexibility in raw materials

๏  improve metal quality

This disruptive technology has been demonstrated at pilot scale in a startup company in the Boston area, Boston Electrometallurgical, where a plurality of metals has been produced in amounts of 100s of kg.

This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.