IperionX leverages its tech to produce high value titanium powder
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IperionX has hit a major milestone with the successful application of its patented technologies to produce low-carbon spherical titanium alloy powder using titanium minerals from Tennessee as feedstock.
Importantly, testing of the titanium alloy powder produced using titanium mineral feedstock from its Titan project in Tennessee has confirmed that it meets important Grade 5 quality specifications for Ti64 alloy, the most commonly used titanium alloy – accounting for about 50% of global titanium use.
Ti64 alloy offers high strength, light weight and high corrosion resistance, making it suitable for use in aerospace turbines, structural components and engine components.
For IperionX (ASX:IPX), the achievement is significant as its technologies have the potential to significantly lower energy consumption, costs and carbon emissions versus the incumbent Kroll process used to create titanium metal sponge, which is then refined into titanium alloys.
It also offers the U.S., which has no primary titanium sponge production capacity, the opportunity to secure its supply chain for the strategic metal using recycled titanium feedstocks and domestic titanium minerals from the Company’s Titan Project in Tennessee.
“The need to secure a cost effective, low carbon, all-American titanium metal supply chain is of critical importance to major U.S. industries and the U.S. defence sector,” managing director Anastasios Arima said.
“Today’s announcement highlights that these innovative technologies can produce low carbon titanium metal and its alloys directly from domestically sourced titanium minerals from our Titan critical minerals project in Tennessee.
“These patented technologies can deliver production of innovative titanium alloys that were not possible with the current melt processes.”
He added that the recent signing of the Inflation Reduction Act (2022) is an important turning point for re-shoring critical low carbon American supply chains and provides a wide range of U.S. government funding opportunities and incentives to accelerate the scale-up of emerging technologies to reduce the U.S. reliance on foreign supply chains.
“These include $40 billion for DOE Loan Programs Office loan commitments, $500 million for the DOD DPA Title III program, and a 10% production tax credit for critical mineral and metal production in the U.S., enabling the acceleration of actions to fund and secure these critical supply chains,” he noted.
Titanium alloys are currently produced with the Kroll process to create titanium metal sponge, which is then refined via a series of high energy titanium melt processes to produce titanium alloys as ingots.
These ingots are then processed into titanium alloy wire/rod, which are feedstocks for high energy plasma/gas atomisation that produces spherical titanium alloy powders.
In contrast, IperionX has produced Ti64 titanium alloy powder using a range of patented technologies including its proprietary Synthetic Rutile and Alkaline Roasting and Hydrolysis (ARH) process technologies to upgrade medium grade titanium minerals (ilmenite) sourced from Titan into a +99% titanium dioxide feedstock.
Once upgraded, the feedstock was blended with oxides of the alloying elements and then reduced using the patented Hydrogen Assisted Metallothermic Reduction (HAMR) technology to produce low-carbon angular titanium powders.
The patented Granulation Sintering Deoxygenation (“GSD”) technology was then used on the powders to produce high-quality Ti64 alloy.
Taken together, its technologies could reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions compared to the Knoll process by up to 95% by eliminating direct carbon emissions from producing titanium and using 100% renewable power in the production process.
Adding further interest, its technologies can produce titanium alloys directly from the oxides of the alloy elements, which could deliver customers additional benefits through a wider range of lower cost, innovative titanium alloys – including alloys that are difficult to produce using traditional technologies – on shorter lead times.
This article was developed in collaboration with IperionX, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.