Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Projects and Results
  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PlasMelt (Design and Manufacture of Scaled up 50 kg capacity Plasma Melt Overflow (PMO) system for the commercial production of titanium and iron-chrome-aluminium alloy fibres.)

PlasMelt Report Summary

Project ID: 711189

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PlasMelt (Design and Manufacture of Scaled up 50 kg capacity Plasma Melt Overflow (PMO) system for the commercial production of titanium and iron-chrome-aluminium alloy fibres.)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Our overall objective is to produce titanium and FeCrAl fibre by an industry scale using melt overflow process. To achieve this, we need to develop a 50 kg capacity of induction melt overflow (IMO) plant, which will be able to produce 563 tonnes of fibre (either Titanium or FeCrAl) per year.

The low cost Ti and FeCrAl fibre will be used for manufacturing SLI (Starting, Lighting, Ignition) batteries and advanced DPFs (Diesel Particulate Filter) respectively. Advanced DPFs will allow the diesel powered vehicles to meet the requirements of Euro VI legislation, which will give us a better environment to breathe. On the other hand, for every single kg Ti fibre use in SLI battery application will save 153 kg fuel and reduce CO2 emission by 370 kg over the first lifecycle (5 years, average life of the novel lead acid battery) of the SLI battery.

Manufacturing sector is responsible for some 35 percent of global electricity use, 20 percent of CO2 emissions, and a quarter of primary resource extraction, but at the same time manufacturing sector currently accounts for 23 percent of worldwide employments. For the EU, its low-carbon economy roadmap suggests that, by 2050, the EU should cut emissions to 80% below 1990 levels whilst milestones to achieve this are 40% emissions cuts by 2030 and 60% by 2040. Our approach and strategy are aligned with EU and global approach towards achieving sustainable manufacturing or low carbon economy. This project will create a potential opportunity of reducing global lead consumption by more than 4 million tonnes which is 80% of the global primary lead production.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this study, along with technical and commercial feasibility study of 50 kg capacity plasma melt overflow (PMO) plant for Titanium and FeCrAl fibre production, we have performed lifecycle analysis (LCA) of the fibre produced through the PMO process. The high Capex of plasma torch and related operational cost make the selection of plasma torch as a thermal input of the Melt Overflow process (MO) commercially unfeasible. During the study, induction heating is found to be a technically, commercially and environmentally viable option of alternate heat source for the MO process. The Capex related to the IMO (Induction Melt Overflow) plant is 64% less compare to the PMO plant. IMO process consumes 89% less energy compare to PMO process and unlike PMO, the IMO process does not require continuous flow of gas (Argon 85%, Helium 15%). Only small amount of gas will be required to develop the inert atmosphere within the chamber. Hence the operational cost of the IMO process has also been significantly reduced compared to the PMO process.

For either of the cases, i.e. PMO or IMO, we will use the recycled content to produce Ti and FeCrAl fibre, the environmental performance of the product produced by these fibre will be better. Due to less energy and gas (Argon 85%, Helium 15%) consumption, the environmental performance of the IMO process is better compared to the PMO process which will also further enhance the environmental performance of the final product.

Titanium fibre networks will be used as a substrate for the SLI (Starting-lighting-ignition) battery electrodes with a thin film of lead and lead oxide coating that reduces the weight of the battery by more than 50%. With this approach, on an average almost 9.8 kg lead will be saved per SLI battery production. If we consider global picture for the use phase of the battery (for SLI application), over the whole life cycle of the battery (5 years), significant amount of fuel, emission and monetary saving will be realised from the increased fuel economy obtained from the reduced vehicle curb weight.

FeCrAl alloy substrate is a good candidate for the next generation of DPFs due to lower costs, superior filtration efficiency (more than 90%) and passive regeneration properties when compared to current cordierite or silicon carbide (SiC) particulate filters. With respect to the PMO process, IMO process will save more than 23 Gwh for Ti and FeCrAl fibre production to meet the projected demand in 2023.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Currently, there is no commercial production route available for Titanium and FeCrAl fibre manufacturing. Induction melt overflow process is capable to produce Titanium and FeCrAl fibre at affordable price, which will encourage the lead acid battery and DPF manufacturers to produce novel SLI battery (based on Titanium fibre network substrate) and advanced DPF (based on FeCrAl substrate) respectively.

Approximately a potential global market of €3.71 billion around the Titanium and FeCrAl fibre is expected to be created by 2023. Titanium fibre used in SLI battery application will create a potential opportunity of emission and fuel saving of 14.3 million tonnes of CO2 and 5,913 mega litres respectively in 2023 and the potential monetary saving expected to be realised from the fuel saving will be €247 million and €1,796 million at the EU and rest of the world (ROW) level.

Though approximately 113 new jobs are expected to be created within Fibretech, there might be chance of job reduction in the primary lead manufacturing sector. The increased recycling activities to recover Titanium and FeCrAl fibre from the batteries and DPFs will create some jobs.

Related information

Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top