Deep space mine: Luxembourg Government partners with Deep Space Industries in space mining
The asteroid mining company Deep Space Industries has announced a partnership with the Luxembourg Government and the Société Nationale de Crédit et d’Investissement (SNCI), the national banking institution in Luxembourg, to develop a resource mining programme in space.
The partnership will help fund their R&D projects to use existing technology and develop it to be able to mine asteroids in space and create a supply chain of space commodities.
A low Earth orbit technology demonstration mission, testing the company’s pioneering deep space technology, will be the first project to come out of the collaboration.
Dubbed Prospector – X, the project will be crucial to the success and development of the deep space programme going forward. Following the newly formed European headquarters in Luxembourg, Deep Space Industries will support the construction of the Prospector – X spacecraft with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust at the University of Luxembourg as well as the company’s international and American partners.
Daniel Faber, CEO of Deep Space Industries believes the partnership with Luxembourg on this particular project will pave the way for the development of a space mining economy, citing the enthusiasm and support as the crucial factors in the project’s expansion.
“We have been impressed by Luxembourg’s tangible actions to lead the creation of an asteroid resource economy. The opportunity to partner with Luxembourg on Prospect-X allows a number of the key technologies for cosr0effective deep space operations to be rapidly flight-tested in advance of more complex missions,” he said.
Prospector-X is not the only victory for Deep Space Industries, just recently the company fielded a successful on-orbit experiment demonstrating the significance (and functionality) of autonomous operations in space resource mining.
Read the May 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine
Rio Tinto and Alcoa begin construction with ELYSIS tech
Eliminating all direct greenhouse gases from aluminium smelting has taken a major step forward with the start of construction on the first commercial-scale prototype cells of ELYSIS’ inert anode technology, at Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec.
ELYSIS has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of aluminium production
ELYSIS is a joint venture company led by Rio Tinto and Alcoa that is developing a new breakthrough technology, known as inert anode, that eliminates all direct greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the traditional smelting process and instead produces oxygen.
The technology has the potential to transform the aluminium industry, with a significant reduction in its carbon footprint.
The inert anode prototype cells will operate on a commercial scale typical for large modern aluminium smelters, using an electrical current of 450 kiloamperes (kA).
The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry joined representatives from ELYSIS, Rio Tinto and Alcoa to mark the start of construction and announce a further CAD $20mn financial contribution from the Government of Canada to support the project.
The federal government's financial support will enable the creation of a unique commercial size inert anode technology showroom for future customers and will help develop the supply chain by involving local and regional equipment manufacturers and suppliers in the project.
ELYSIS is working to complete the technology demonstration by 2024 followed by the commercialization activities.
ELYSIS technology at a glance:
- The ELYSIS technology addresses the global trend towards producing low carbon footprint products, from mobile phones to cars, planes and building materials.
- The new process will reduce operating costs ofaluminiumsmelters while increasing production capacity. It could be used in both new and existing aluminium smelters.
- In Canada alone, the ELYSIS technology has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 7 million tons, the equivalent of removing 1.8 million cars from the roads.
- ELYSIS will also sell next-generation anode and cathode materials, which will last more than 30 times longer than traditional components.
Alcoa and Rio Tinto will continue to support the ELYSIS development program alongside the Governments of Canada and Quebec.
ELYSIS is working closely with Alcoa's Technical Center, where the zero-carbon smelting technology was invented, and the Rio Tinto technology design team in France.
Alcoa's Technical Center supports ELYSIS in the manufacture of proprietary materials for the new anodes and cathodes that are essential to the ELYSIS process. The Rio Tinto technology team in France is creating commercial scale designs for the ELYSIS technology.
Vincent Christ, CEO, ELYSIS commented: “This is a great day for ELYSIS. It means that we are becoming the first technology company in the world to build commercial-size inert anode cells. While we refine the technology in our R&D Centre, we start the construction of our prototype cells. This shows our confidence in our process and in the know-how of our team. The combination of ELYSIS' zero CO2 technology and Quebec's renewable energy will be great competitive advantage for the future. I would like to thank the government for its support and all the partners for their commitment.”
Samir Cairae, Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations and ELYSIS board member added: “Today marks a real step towards the future of the aluminium industry, by progressing this breakthrough technology to cut carbon emissions. Rio Tinto is committed to supporting its ongoing development here in Quebec where we already use clean hydropower to deliver some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium. Combining this technology with renewable hydropower holds the promise of zero carbon aluminium smelting.”