Molten Oxide Electrolysis is an electrolytic metal extraction technique which has the specificity to operate at high temperature, i.e. above 1200°C. Its principle is the dissolution of a metal oxide by a mixture of oxides, the corresponding ions being converted to metal and oxygen by the application of a voltage difference. This electrolysis process is of interest both for metal producing industries and extraterrestrial in-situ generation of oxygen. The supporting electrolyte chemical inertness and stability limits the environmental impact of the process, and the use of electrolysis principle guarantee high purity products, two key assets for 21st century extraction techniques.
Current research is dedicated to the development of the technique for low carbon steelmaking, with the objective of drastically reduce the carbon-impact of iron-making operations, which relies today on intensive use of carbon. The corresponding research activities range from the development of materials that sustain temperature in excess of 1500°C and oxygen-rich environment to the design and operation of laboratory-scale pilot cells, useful to investigate reaction mechanism and optimize process parameters.
Postdoctoral Associates: Guillaume Lambotte
Technical Staff: Rachel DeLucas
Antoine Allanore, Luis A Ortiz and Donald R Sadoway , “Molten oxide electrolysis for iron production: identification of key process parameters for large-scale development”, Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gas Reduction Metallurgy, TMS Proceedings 2011
H. Kim, J.D. Paramore, A.Allanore and D.R. Sadoway, “Stability of iridium anode in molten oxide electrolysis for ironmaking: influence of slag basicity”, Electrochemical Society Transactions, vol. 33, issue 7, 219, (2010)