Universal Technical Resource Services, Inc. (UTRS), Butte, Montana, USA, has entered into a joint venture with Achemetal, Inc., to commercialise its patented process for extracting and refining titanium. The new joint venture will go by the name Universal Achemetal Titanium, LLC (UAT).
UTRS is an established government services firm and brings to the JV a decade of experience in solutions technology. Achemetal, Inc., is a metals supplier dealing in specialty and rare earth refractory metals worldwide.
“The UTRS scientists in Montana invented a game-changing process for extracting titanium from ore that is more flexible, requires fewer steps and will significantly reduce the costs of titanium when compared to the Kroll process,” explained James Sun, owner of Achemetal. “This innovative method reduces production costs and pollution, and doesn’t require the use of any harmful chemicals.”
The extraction process in question uses two major steps that effectively combine extraction techniques, electro-refining and metal processing practices to produce titanium directly from titanium-bearing ores. According to UTRS, the technique will provide access to domestic titanium supplies not usable by other processes and will reduce reliance on foreign materials in manufacturing.
“Our goal was to replace the expensive, environmentally harmful, outdated Kroll process that is used internationally today in titanium production,” stated Jim Cox, Ph.D., UTRS Laboratory Director. “In doing so, we are able to create a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly process to manufacture titanium, making it more accessible to industries both within and outside of aerospace and allowing us to take advantage of domestic ore supplies previously unusable.”
The formation of UAT is expected to move the process from the laboratory scale into the demonstration phase, bringing it closer to commercialisation.