The photo is sourced from epro-atech.com
The raw material for Si+ is metallurgical silicon that can be extracted from the spent solar cells. The appropriate technologies are already on the market. For example, Rosi Solar, a French startup, uses pyrolysis for metal separation from the cells of photovoltaic panels. The development of EPRO Advance Technology will contribute to the cost-effective recycling of silicon whose production is associated with a higher specific CO2 emission (50 kg per kilogram) than in the case of magnesium, aluminum and titanium.
Another advantage of Si+ is its ability to solve the problem of hydrogen intercontinental transportation, for which expensive tankers have recently been used. The world’s first sea shipment of H2 was carried out by the Suiso Frontier, a 75,000-ton vessel, during its voyage from Australia to Japan in January 2022: hydrogen obtained by coal gasification using CO2 capture technology had to be transferred as gas to the port of Hastings, southeastern Australia, and then converted to a liquid state at minus 253 degrees Celsius and shipped to the tanker.
The development of EPRO Advance Technology will make possible usage of conventional shipping containers for transportation. As the company estimates, a standard 20-foot container can carry 2.7 tons of Si+. The logistics does not require any additional technological solutions because as the material for hydrogen production, Si+ does not contain H2, and therefore, its transportation does not entail an increased explosion hazard. “It represents a significant breakthrough of green hydrogen energy, and it will transform hydrogen from the fuel of the future to the fuel of tomorrow,” EPRO Advance Technology quotes CEO Albert Lau in its release.
The innovation has already attracted investors’ attention. The Hong Kong airport is considering the use of Si+ for creation of a network of hydrogen filling stations. The porous silicon material can also be applied in the power industry, marine and land transport, i.e. in the industries gradually embraced by the hydrogen revolution.