MONTREAL, Canada — HPQ Silicon Inc. (“HPQ” or the “Company”) (TSX-V: HPQ) (OTCQX: HPQFF) (FRA: O08), a technology company engaged in green engineering processes of producing silica and silicon material, would like to inform investors of the next milestones planned as its GEN3 PUREVAP™ Quartz Reduction Reactor (QRR) (“GEN3 QRR”) (“Pilot Plant”) testing program passes the halfway mark.
During the past six (6) months of the program, technology provider PyroGenesis Canada Inc. (TSX: PYR) (NASDAQ: PYR) (FRA: 8PY), validated that the GEN3 QRR pilot plant operates as designed and produces Silicon (Si) Materials.
Having passed the halfway mark, the remaining months of the program will focus on achieving key milestones that will dictate the start and end of a series of process improvement tests. These three series of process improvement tests will enable us to collect important data required to advance the project to the next logical step, planning the development of our first commercial-scale plant (PUREVAP™ GEN4 QRR).
TEST SERIES #1: BATCH TESTING THE REACTOR
In Q4 2022, a dynamic blank test, part of the startup of the Pilot Plant and two process improvement tests, part of test series #1, were completed. These tests were very successful, producing silicon materials and yielding important data on the system’s operation.
During Series #1 of the process improvement test, the reactor processes the silica and reductant feedstock in batches. During each batch testing, raw material is placed inside the reactor. It is then powered up to its operational temperature and taken through the cycle needed to reach a carbothermic reaction. Once the test is complete, the system is powered down and allowed to cool, after which it is inspected while the produced silicon material at the bottom of the reactor is recovered.
Batch tests are currently being performed and will continue until we reach the key milestone of a successful silicon pour from the GEN3 QRR.
TEST SERIES #2: REACTOR UNDER SEMI-CONTINUOUS BATCH PRODUCTION
Following a first successful silicon pour, Series #2 will commence with the objective of improving silicon material production yield. The GEN3 QRR system will be operated in a semi-continuous batch process.
Raw material will be placed inside the reactor, as in Series #1, which will be powered up to its operational temperature and cycled to reach a carbothermic reaction. During this process, the liquid silicon material produced is recovered by pouring it out of the system into a crucible, the ‘casting’ step. This ends one cycle, and another starts again, with feedstock material now being loaded into the reactor, which at this point is already at its operational temperature.
Testing will be performed to gather enough data to make the necessary changes to the system or production process with a focus on improving production yield. This will continue until the system reaches the required key milestone of completing at least 6 continuous production cycles per day, with each cycle yielding 20 Kg of Silicon per pour. This is a key required milestone for the GEN3 QRR to be considered fully operational under semi-continuous production conditions.
The recovered Silicon material will be used as feedstock to produce samples for use as part of HPQ silicon’s battery initiatives.
TEST SERIES #3: SEMI-CONTINOUS PRODUCTION AND PURITY UPGRADE
Series #3 will focus on operating the system on a non-stop production basis. While this is ongoing, improvement tests will ensure the recovered material attains battery-grade silicon purity.
“We’ve made significant progress since starting the GEN3 QRR pilot plant back in July 2022 and I credit the PyroGenesis team for their exceptional dedication and expertise in getting us here and beyond,” said Mr. Bernard Tourillon, President and CEO of HPQ Silicon Inc. “Series #1, #2 and #3 will be important milestones for our ‘Silicon for Batteries Initiative’. In terms of timing, the schedule will be driven by results and improvements as we continue to venture into uncharted waters with this groundbreaking approach to silicon production. Having said that, we are confident that over the next six months we will have completed the Series #1, #2, and #3 process improvement steps. As always safety is the primary consideration and safety procedures are an important part of the ongoing process improvements.”
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.