Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Solar/Electric Powered Magnesium Production

University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder)
Carbothermal Reduction Process for Producing Magnesium Metal using a Hybrid Solar/Electric Reactor
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,599,299
Location: 
Boulder, CO
Project Term: 
01/01/2014 to 06/30/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Primary production of lightweight metals such as magnesium is an energy-intensive and expensive process that results in significant carbon dioxide (CO2) and other emissions. Lowering the energy consumption, cost, and emissions associated with processing magnesium and its alloys would make it competitive with incumbent structural metals such as steel. Enabling its widespread use in vehicles in particular--without compromising performance or safety--would substantially reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from transportation.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder) is developing a new solar-powered magnesium production reactor with dramatically improved energy efficiency compared to conventional technologies. Today's magnesium production processes are expensive and require large amounts of electricity. CU-Boulder's reactor can be heated using either concentrated solar power during the day or by electricity at night. CU-Boulder's reactor would dramatically reduce CO2 emissions compared to existing technologies at lower cost because it requires less electricity and can be powered using solar energy. In addition, the reactor can produce syngas, a synthetic gasoline precursor, which could be used to power cars and trucks.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, CU-Boulder's renewable-energy-powered reactor could reduce CO2 emissions and lower costs associated with producing magnesium while also creating a synthetic fuel.
Security: 
Light-weighting vehicles to improve fuel efficiency could reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fossil fuel resources used in the transportation industry.
Environment: 
Enabling reactors that operate using renewable energy technologies would reduce CO2 emissions and improve energy efficiency associated with magnesium production.
Economy: 
Improving the efficiency of magnesium production processes could lower the cost of light metals manufacturing throughout the industry.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Prof. Alan Weimer
Release Date: 
9/19/2013