Aluminum Extractor from Clay Concept
This is a machine for processing clay, an abundant feedstock in many parts of the world (already in fine particles) into Aluminum - a high value, industrial metal. Note the energy requirement:
- About 15kW-hours requirement for 1 kg aluminum produced (1.5 kg diesel energy equivalent at 100% conversion). About 1 gallon fuel consumption per kilogram of aluminum produced assuming 30% conversion of diesel to electrolysis current- super energy intensive if done with traditional fuels
- Process design for producing 1 ton of aluminum per day
- Fueled by Solar Concentrator electrical power, and Modern Steam Engine as backup only, for economic sense on a micro-scale
- About 300kW energy requirement for 24 hours per day - huge
- Practical conversion: 2 acres of biomass fuel required to produce 1 ton of aluminum per year
- For 15MW-hours of energy per year - solar concentrator requres under 100 square meters of area to fuel this production (assuming 10% solar conversion efficiency). Less than 1/40th of an acre. 100 times as area efficient as biomass. (btw 1t/day=5.5Gwh/a, typical solar radiation 1Mwh/m²/a at 10% efficiency ->55000m²)
- About 100 grams of hydroflouric acid are required in a closed loop cycle to carry out the first hydrofluoric acid leaching process phase of aluminosilicate to alumina (please add link or something, this part should merge alumina from clay page)
- Second phase is standard Hall-Héroult electrolysis.
- Approximately a 6000 square foot facility is required for housing the above process.
- process should scale to 50kw range, suitable to feed 50kw windmill etc. so 80kg/24hrs size for single (stackable, like power cube?) unit.
- So there should be ~50kw Hall cell unit and some separate units to generate alumina for such cell. Some people have bauxite, some only clay. There are no reason lock only to clays.
Strategically speaking - lunar regolith and Mars settlers are quite interested in this. This process has been developed for extraterrestrial applications initially, where there may be no bauxite.
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