Uragold: Study shows QVR process provides a 75% reduction in carbon footprint of solar wafers
Uragold is a Quebec junior exploration company that has licensed plasma-based technology from a third party to transform its high purity quart deposits to tap into the lucrative market of Silicon and Polysilicon markets.
The study, which is an engineering analysis, shows a carbon footprint of 14.1 kgCO2 eq/kg SG Si for the Purevap QVR process vs 54 kgCO2 eq/kg SG Si for the standard Siemens process for manufacturing silicon wafer, which translates into a 73.888889 % reduction.
These results are encouraging for the company. They corroborate Uragold’s previous claims Capex of a 10K Mt per year of solar grade Silicon and/or Polysilicon is roughly US$ 50 M, which is five percent (5 %) of the cost of current solar grade Silicon and Polysilicon industry Capex ($ 1 B). In turn, Opex is expected at less than 70% of Opex to make solar grade Silicon and/or Polysilicon.
Uragold passed a significant Go/No-Go gate toward commercialization but the technology has yet scale up to the commercial level, a critical step that turns engineers’ hair into Obama gray at the best of times.
With an annual market of $US 6 B, the solar grade Silicon and Polysilicon market is growing at an annual rate of 6% and should double by 2020 to meet growing demand for solar energy.
Get our daily investorintel update
Solar Grade Silicon sells for US$ 12,810 per Mt while Polysilicon sells for US$ 14,860 per Mt. The best in class producers show an average cash cost: US$ 10,000 to US$ 13,000 per Mt. We should expect that a reduced carbon footprint would permit a healthy margin or offer a disruptive breakthrough in the marketplace.
If commercially proven this kind of technology may bring down the cost of solar photovoltaic energy to grid parity in North America, a problem that has plagued the solar industry since its inception. Solar parity is the point in time where the cost of solar power is equivalent to the blended cost of power on the electrical distribution grid. If this is true, then this technology might have a significant effect on the global carbon footprint. For clarity, it would permit to deploy cost effective photovoltaic systems that would produce power at a cost equivalent to coal power generation as an example.
The core of the Uragold’s technology is protected in a patent application by PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSXV:PYR), which has granted Uragold a worldwide exclusive right to the usage of their PUREVAP™ Quartz Vaporization Reactor. The technology is based on the use of a plasma reactor within a vacuum furnace.
Uragold is the largest holder of distinct High Purity Quartz properties in Quebec, with over 3,500 Ha in claims. Despite the abundance of quartz, very few deposits are suitable for high purity applications. Quartz from its Roncevaux property in the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec successfully passed testing protocols by a major silicon metal producer confirming its suitability for Silicon metal production and offering an opportunity as feedstock for plasma transformation through the QTR process.
Dr. Luc C. Duchesne is a Speaker and Author with a PhD in Biochemistry. With three decades of scientific and business experience, he has published ... <Read more about Dr. Luc Duchesne>