Silicon production using hydrogen

December 18th, 2023

R&D Focus Areas:
Industrial heat processes

Lead Organisation:
Swinburne University of Technology



Start date:
August 2023

Completion date:
August 2026

Key contacts:
Gordon Chakaodza – Director, Victorian Hydrogen Hub:
Victorian Hydrogen Hub (VH2):
Akbar Rhamdhani, Project Primary Supervisor:
Bima Satritama, Project Key Researcher: 

Victorian Government – Victorian Hydrogen Hub

Project total cost:

Project summary description:
Silicon demand is projected to increase 460-fold by 2040, outpacing the demand of other important metals for emerging clean energy initiatives, such as nickel, lithium, and rare-earth elements. This surge in demand is driven by the growth of solar energy to be on track with major net-zero scenarios. However, current silicon production methods rely on carbon-based materials as a reductant and energy source, which release harmful emissions such as CO2, SO2, NOx, and other pollutants into the atmosphere. 

However, hydrogen gas is unable to reduce SiO2 into silicon metal based on thermodynamics due to a high stability of silicon oxide. Therefore, stronger reductants need to be applied. This project will develop an understanding of hydrogen plasma (a higher state of molecular H2) and methane gas (H2 + C) utilization as alternative reductants to decarbonize silicon production. Several aspects that will be studied are thermodynamics, kinetics, microstructure evolution, and reaction mechanism based on laboratory experiments.

Related publications and key links:
None currently. 

Higher degree studies supported:
One PhD student at Swinburne University of Technology is supported by this project.


December 2023