Lowering Energy use for Copper Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-11ER90185
Agency Tracking Number: 96319
Amount: $149,700.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 04 d
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000413
Small Business Information
801 Woodlawn Drive, Madison, WI, 53716-3668
DUNS: 832640002
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Patrick James
 (608) 334-4824
Business Contact
 Patrick James
Title: Dr.
Phone: (608) 334-4824
Email: pijames@bps09.com
Research Institution
Copper is a commodity essential to modern society and its production is very energy intensive. Half of U.S. copper consumption goes to electrical, heating, and plumbing infrastructure in building construction and energy use for copper production topped 43 trillion BTUs in the early 1990s. Currently the U.S. imports about 1/3 of the 2.6 billion pounds of copper used annually. This opens our economy to impact by geopolitical uncertainties as rapid modernization in China and India strain demand, elevate prices, and create supply uncertainties which will create strong headwinds to the U.S. economy for decades. Sadly, 1/3 of global copper ore cannot be economically utilized and the remaining 2/3 is rapidly running out. This is forcing producers to use lower grade and less accessible ore which drives up processing energy needs so that energy consumption for each pound of copper production is burgeoning. Blue Planet Strategies (BPS) has a patent pending technology allowing efficient and practical strengthening of weak metal laden streams. Applying this new platform technology to copper production remanufactures ore that is currently a waste into a viable production resource and valuable product stream. It also can reduce copper generation energy consumption by up to 50%! Enabling use of this abundant low-grade ore common to US mines will markedly raise domestic copper production while concurrently saving large amounts of energy for each ton of copper produced this way rather than through conventional means.Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The BPS solution augments conventional copper heap leaching operations so that they can cost-effectively produce copper from abundant but currently unusable ore. This will greatly extend active mines times to depletion, can double production at existing operations, and provides the key to unlock 1/3 of the global copper reserves. Such BPS-enabled copper production will stabilize domestic copper supplies and prices, create high-paying jobs, and inject significant revenue into local economies while reducing the Nations reliance on copper imports. This solution also reduces copper minings overall carbon footprint and will save tremendous quantities of coal and diesel fuel through the energy savings realized. The technology also holds promise for use in the production of other metals.

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

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