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Energy-Saving Process for Extraction of Vanadium

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0018874
Agency Tracking Number: 237168
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 06c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001771
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-02
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-07-01
Small Business Information
6 C Gill St.
Woburn, MA 01801-1721
United States
DUNS: 078433249
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Richard Bradshaw
 (781) 281-2759
Business Contact
 Richard Bradshaw
Phone: (781) 281-2759
Research Institution

Vanadium is a critical contributor to many different clean energy applications. It is directly used in the most common titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V. However, over 80% of the vanadium produced is used in steel production as ferrovanadium master alloy. Vanadium is an essential component to the high-strength low alloy (HSLA) steels and many advanced high strength steels (AHSS) that are being employed for lightweighting vehicles. We propose a novel approach to extract vanadium from its oxide. This novel approach provides primary energy savings: it uses less energy to extract a ton of vanadium than the current process of aluminothermic reduction. Our approach will also have secondary energy contributions: reducing the cost of ferrovanadium while improving its purity will accelerate the adoption of the high-performance steels that require vanadium. Developed at MIT, Molten Oxide Electrolysis (MOE) has been demonstrated at the lab- scale for a number of metals including iron, nickel, chromium, titanium, and ferromanganese, and at industrial pilot-scale with ferromanganese. Analogous to the Hall-Héroult process for the production of molten aluminum, MOE enables high-throughput molten production of metals and alloys that are commonly made in solid form with more expensive and slower processes. MOE enables the direct processing of oxides, the most common feedstock form of these metals. In Phase I, we will perform a detailed modeling investigation of the production of pure vanadium and ferrovanadium by MOE, determine the necessary adaptations to our pilot reactor, and perform a validation experiment in that pilot-scale reactor. In Phase II, we will refine the process, focusing on energy efficiency, vanadium recovery, and chemical purity of the product.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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