Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Magnesium Smelting

Utilization of solar energy for electric power generation. Power generation at a solar-energy rich desert. Transmission of the generated electric power to power -consuming areas. Those constitute the concept of the DESERTEC project. Electric power is generated in the Sahara (by steam turbine generators), the generated power to EU countries through power transmission lines (submarine cables laid in the Mediterranean Sea) to the EU countries. The average distance is 1,500 km between the desert and the EC countries. 6,000 km is the distance from the desert to Japan. It is clear that application of the DDESERTEC method to Japan is impossible. To cope with, Prof. Kohama proposed the concept to smelt the magnesium-contained material at the desert, and to transport the resultant magnesium to its consuming places. The concept involves using the Pidgeon process for the smelting process, and the solar furnace for producing the magnesium smelling temperature. The magnesium smelting process comes in two varieties, Pidgeon process and electrolytic process. The Pidgeon process is carried at 1,200 degrees C and using a ferro-silicon (reducing agent). The smelting temperature is produced by burning Koks, resulting in emission of a large amount of carbon dioxide gas. His Tohoku University has long utilized the solar furnace for material research. The solar furnace has produced high temperature near to 4,000 degrees C. There is no problem for the furnace to produce 1,200 degrees C. It was experimentally confirmed that the Kohama smelting process effectively operates. The conversion efficiency by the solar-furnace based smelting process is over 76%, much higher than that of other ones. See “Quality of Natural Heat”, page 4. Electric energy is used for forming the ferro-silicon as the catalyst. The method needs much cost. Solar energy may be used in place of the electric energy. If necessary, new catalysts may be developed. The electrolytic process as the magnesium smelting process essentially uses electricity, which is high in cost, resulting in use of the Pidgeon process. China employs the Pidgeon process and almost monopolistically supplies the magnesium to other countries (around 90%). The main cause for this is that the production cost is high. Prof. Yabe (Tokyo Institute of Technology) is now developing another new magnesium smelting process. The Yabe smelting process uses a solar pumped laser (originally developed by the professor) to generate the heat of 20,000 degrees Celsius, which is high enough to smelt magnesium compounds. The Yabe smelting process is under demonstration test. For more details, please ask PEGASOS ELECTRA Co., Ltd.If interesting, please go to here.

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