MONTREAL, Canada — HPQ Silicon Inc. (“HPQ” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: HPQ) (OTCQX: HPQFF) (FRA: O08), an innovative silicon solutions and technology development company, would like to inform shareholders that technology provider PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSX: PYR) (NASDAQ: PYR) (FRA: 8PY), has informed HPQ that the GEN3 PUREVAP™ Quartz Reduction Reactor (QRR) dynamic test was successful and that the pilot plant is now ready to process material.
GEN3 QRR TESTING VALIDATES DESIGN PERFORMANCE AND SCALABILITY
The high-temperature dynamic blank test confirmed that the GEN3 PUREVAP™ QRR Pilot (the “Pilot Plant”) can operate, as expected, within important design parameters; over a long period of time.
This is a major milestone for this first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art pilot plant prototype, and the team at Pyrogenesis also achieved the largest single scaling up of the QRR required before moving to commercial production. The GEN3 Pilot Plant will produce approximately 2,500 times more product than GEN2. This major breakthrough increases the expectation that the next step of commercial scalability will be successful.
HPQ, with development partner Pyrogenesis, is closer than ever to confirming the innovative approach to making high Purity Silicon using the QRR process will be a commercial success.
GEN3 QRR TESTING ALSO ACHIEVES SEVERAL MAJOR ENGINEERING MILESTONES
During the 72-hour dynamic blank test, all the key steps required to make Silicon were tested. The system not only validated its ability to operate under vacuum at a high temperature for the required time, but it also demonstrated the capability to maintain an inert state in the Pilot Plant furnace at even higher temperatures for the duration of the test.
The Pilot Plant design incorporates ideas and concepts first described in the provisional PUREVAP™ QRR patent applications filed in 2021 (Sept. 4, 2021, release) covering a new and novel process for continuous operations of a plasma arc furnace under vacuum.
“Reaching a vacuum, at high temperatures in the reactor and then maintaining it at an inert state at even higher temperatures; over multiple days was a complex undertaking,” said Mr. Bernard Tourillon, President and CEO of HPQ Silicon Inc. “There is no other way to say it; the results obtained during the 72-hour dynamic blank test are major engineering milestone and accomplishment for the PyroGenesis team.”
“Advancing the PUREVAP™ project to this stage has been one of the great achievements of the Company. From initial idea to lab tests, to design and build, and now with the successful operational testing of the pilot plant, our efforts to introduce plasma technology to the high-purity silicon industry is yet another example of how we are putting our scientific and engineering expertise to use in solving some of heavy industry’s most pressing issues,” said Mr. P. Peter Pascali, CEO and Chair of PyroGenesis. “As we have stated before, we firmly believe that the PUREVAP™ process will prove to be a game changer in the production of a metal as strategically important to future energy goals as silicon. We are proud to be on this journey together with HPQ.”
THE HIGH TEMPERATURE DYNAMIC BLANK TEST, THE FINAL REHEARSAL BEFORE MAKING SILICON
Before starting the high-temperature blank test, charcoal was loaded in the reactor to protect components in direct contact with the plasma arc. Furthermore, to shield the lining of the furnace from oxidation, (combustion of the charcoal), the system had to maintain an inert state during the duration of the test. Having any oxygen in the furnace would have combusted the charcoal and caused damage to the reactor.
PILOT PLANT READY TO PROCESS MATERIAL
The next step in the process improvement tests and beyond include introducing a mixture of quartz (SiO2) and reductant into QRR, as image 2 below demonstrates. The 72-hour test demonstrated that the system could operate under vacuum at a high temperature and then to maintain an inert state in the reactor, also that we are able to produce the key production parameters of Silicon. As a result, we are now ready to initiate the production of silicon by carbothermic reduction of quartz.
HPQ Silicon is a Quebec-based TSX Venture Exchange Tier 1 Industrial Issuer. With the support of world-class technology partners PyroGenesis Canada and NOVACIUM SAS, the company is developing new green processes crucial to make the critical materials needed to reach net zero emissions.