Hyperion Metals has announced an agreement with Blacksand Technology which will explore the commercialisation of titanium powders using the patented Granulation-Sintering-Deoxygenation (GSD) technology.
GSD technology has been developed by Blacksand’s Dr Z. Zak Fang to enable the production of zero carbon, low-cost spherical titanium powders. Hyperion Metals also holds an exclusive licence for Blackstone’s patented HAMR titanium production method which uses significantly less energy than the current Kroll process. Through this latest agreement with Blacksand, Hyperion Metals has secured the exclusive rights for GSD technology and has an option to enter into an exclusive licence agreement for the patents associated with the technology.
GSD is a multi-step process that sees titanium metal hydrogenated to make friable hydride, before being milled into fine particles and granulated into spherical granules in the desired size range using spray-drying. The spherical granules are then sintered to produce densified spherical titanium powder, with the powder then being deoxygenated with magnesium to reduce the oxygen content to product specifications.
The spherical titanium and titanium alloy 3D printing powders that are produced with GSD are said to boast low oxygen, controllable particle size and excellent flowability. Per the companies, GSD enables higher manufacturing yields than other processes and can return significantly lower costs. When coupled with renewable power, it can also become a zero-carbon process.
Hyperion Metals and Blacksand believe by combining HAMR with GSD, they can substantially reduce the total cost of titanium powders for 3D printing, and as a result open up new markets for the application of the technology. Moving forward, the partners plan to produce titanium powders at Blacksand Technology’s production facility in Salt Lake City for customer and partner testing in Q3 2021. They also intend to commence techno-economic studies for the scale up of HAMR and GSD titanium metals, as well as convert a bulk sample from the Titan project into titanium metal powder before the end of 2021. In H1 of 2020, the partners expect the techno-economic studies and FID for production scale to be completed.
“The combination of the patented HAMR and GSD technologies together with advances in 3D printing offers a pathway to dramatically reduce the cost and carbon emissions of titanium metal components,” commented Anastasios Arima, CEO and MD of Hyperion Metals. “Furthermore, recent studies by the Fraunhofer Institute have shown that the fabrication of titanium parts using laser powder-bed additive emits approximately 70% less CO2 than equivalent production by traditional milling processes. Hyperion’s vision is to utilise these sustainable technologies and accelerate the rapid penetration of titanium in current and widespread applications in next generation mobility. The lightweighting of trucks, trains, drones and electric vehicles will lead to a quantum leap in the energy efficiency of these vehicles and will be large, high growth new markets for titanium. We aim to scale and commercialise these breakthrough technologies, make the US the global leader in titanium production and deliver technological leadership in titanium applications for aerospace, space and defence.”
“We look forward to commercialising HAMR and GSD technologies with Hyperion Metals,” added Dr Fang. “These technologies have produces 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.”
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