Hyperion Metals Limited, Belmont, North Carolina, USA, has entered into an agreement with Blacksand Technology, LLC, West Valley City, Utah, to investigate the commercial development of spherical titanium metal powders using Blacksand’s Granulation-Sintering-Deoxygenation (GSD) technology.
This follows on from the previous agreement with Blacksand for the hydrogen assisted metallothermic reduction (HAMR) technology, which, when combined with GSD and Hyperion’s Titan Project, has the potential to provide a sustainable, zero carbon, low-cost and fully-integrated titanium spherical metal powder supply chain in the US. The Titan Project covers nearly 6,000 acres of titanium, rare earth minerals, high-grade silica sand and zircon-rich mineral sands properties in Tennessee.
“Titanium metal is the superior metal for a wide range of advanced applications, from aerospace to defence, and it should also be the logical choice for industrial and civilian applications,” stated Anastasios Arima, CEO and MD of Hyperion Metals. “Titanium’s widespread adoption has been held back in sectors such as consumer goods and electric vehicles due to its high cost.”
The combination of the HAMR and GSD technologies together with advances in metal Additive Manufacturing may offer Hyperion a pathway to dramatically reduce both the cost and carbon emissions of titanium metal components. The company hopes to utilise these sustainable technologies in order to accelerate the rapid penetration of titanium in current and widespread mobility. Consumer vehicles, trains and drones can open up as high-growth markets for titanium in order to lighweight, thus increasing energy efficiency.
HAMR has demonstrated potential to produce titanium powders with low-to-zero carbon intensity, significantly lower energy consumption, significantly lower cost and at product qualities which exceed current industry standards. The GSD technology is a thermochemical process which combines low-cost feedstock material with high-yield production, and can reportedly produce spherical titanium and titanium alloy powders at a fraction of the cost of comparable commercial powders.
Arima continued, “We aim to scale and commercialise these breakthrough technologies, make the US the global leader in titanium production and deliver technological leadership for in titanium applications for aerospace, space and defence.”
Hyperion has secured options for the exclusive license to produce low-carbon titanium metal and spherical powers using HAMR & GSD, technologies were invented by Dr Z Zak Fang and his team at the University of Utah with government funding from Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, a US government agency devoted to the promotion and funding of advanced-energy research.
Dr Fang stated, “We look forward to commercialising the HAMR and GSD technologies with Hyperion Metals. These technologies have produced titanium metal and powders that consistently met the purity requirements defined by industry standards and they have the potential to significantly lower the costs and carbon emissions of producing titanium metal and powders.”
“These technologies have the capacity to drastically alter the titanium, stainless steel and aluminium markets and increase the range of applications for high performance, lightweight and low-cost titanium parts.”
Hyperion has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a partnership with uranium producer Energy Fuels, Lakewood, Colorado, that aims to build an integrated, entirely-American rare earths supply chain. The MoU will evaluate the potential supply of rare earth minerals from Hyperion’s Titan Project to Energy Fuels for value added processing at the company’s White Mesa Mill, reportedly the only fully-licensed and operating conventional uranium mill in the US.