Industry generally uses a straightforward reduction method to produce elemental silicon starting with silicon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the by-product as oxygen is released from the silica. “According to Nottingham University’s George Chen currently a Specially Invited Professor in the College of Chemistry and Molecular Science at the Wuhan University in China, this process was used to produce about 4.1 million tonnes of silicon world-wide in 2002, with a corresponding release of 6.5 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.”
A research has developed a new environmentally friendly way of producing silicon. Instead of using a solid quartz electrode, they have switched this for silicon dioxide powder that has been pressed into thin pellets and then sintered. The resulting electrode is, of course, then porous enough to allow the electrolytic melt to penetrate more deeply into the material of the electrode.
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