The dominant method of producing magnesium is the Pidgeon process, which is labour-intensive, requires large energy inputs, and can be environmentally damaging. The electrolytic process that once dominated production is too capital-intensive to be economically competitive.
MagSonic™ produces magnesium metal using up to 80 per cent less energy and producing up to 60 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than the Pidgeon process.
Similar to the chemistry used for the production of iron from iron ore, magnesium oxide is reacted with carbon to produce magnesium metal. Given that magnesium is so reactive, the practicalities of the process are complex.
Magnesium is a vapour at the reaction temperature and must be cooled very quickly to prevent back reaction (reversion). Our technology uses supersonic flow, similar to a rocket engine, to achieve extremely rapid cooling called 'shock quenching'. No-one has previously succeeded in applying this to metal production.
MagSonic™ can be used globally to produce magnesium metal, as powder or ingot, for use in vehicle and aerospace components, and as an alloying element for aluminium.
We have developed significant know-how in gas-solid reaction mechanisms, nozzle design and operation, powder separation, passivation (the application of a protective material coating) and handling, and we hold a patent on aspects of the MagSonic™ process granted in multiple countries.
We have world-recognised expertise in developing new metallurgical processes, underpinned by a combination of capabilities in chemical engineering, equipment design and implementation, process modelling, pilot-plant commissioning and operation, techno-economic assessment and life-cycle analysis.