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Quebec — Innovative silicon solutions provider HPQ Silicon Resources announces the sixth renewal of its agreement with Apollon Solar SAS (“Apollon”) to continue developing nanoscale and porous silicon materials for energy storage, hydrogen production and high value-added applications.

The objective of the collaboration is to take full advantage of the ability to produce nanoscale silicon materials at low cost using HPQ’s PUREVAP™ Nano Silicon Reactor (“NSiR”) while seeking to determine whether the use of silicon produced by HPQ’s PUREVAP™ Quartz Reduction Reactor (“QRR”), as the raw material for the Apollon process, will lead to the economically viable production of high-quality porous silicon.

“HPQ continues its research, development and commercialization activities with respect to nano-sized and porous silicon materials in order to be at the forefront of low-cost manufacturing of silicon materials for batteries, clean hydrogen production and other advanced applications. Since 2017, our collaboration with Apollon has allowed us to benefit from its world-renowned expertise in the use of silicon in high value-added applications,” said Bernard Tourillon, Chairman and CEO of HPQ Silicon Resources Inc.

Economically viable green renewable energy
The work plan for the upcoming months is to produce porous silicon samples with the Apollon process for research centres and industrial companies interested in using them in the manufacture of future generation Li-Ion batteries and supercapacitor development, as well as to collaborate on the development of protocols for encapsulating porous silicon and nanoscale silicon materials produced with HPQ’s Nano PUREVAP™ NSiR process in carbon.

The partners will also use this time to compare the technical and commercial potential of nanoscale and porous silicon materials to create new generations of environmentally friendly powders with better performance for hydrogen production.

Porous silicon, a promising material
Porous silicon is a structure of silicon (Si) in which nanopores have been formed by anodization through electrochemical etching. The currently available anodization processes all use very high purity silicon (9N to 11N) as a raw material, which makes the cost of porous silicon prohibitive. To reduce the production costs of porous silicon, Apollon has developed and patented worldwide an electrochemical anodizing process capable of using silicon (2N to 4N+) to make porous silicon.

By using HPQ’s PUREVAP™ QRR, a silicon (2N to 4N+) with the lowest manufacturing cost in the industry, as the raw material for Apollon’s patented porosification process, it becomes possible to contemplate the economically viable production of porous silicon.

HPQ maintains a North American exclusivity on the use of Apollon’s patented porous silicon manufacturing process for the duration of the renewal period, until June 30, 2021.

The production of renewable and green hydrogen with silicon
Over the last few years, Apollon Solar has developed expertise in the production of hydrogen by hydrolysis by creating a reaction in water “H2O” with porous silicon nanopowders to release large quantities of hydrogen ” H2″.

Armed with this expertise, Apollon has developed an autonomous system with a simple operation: Hydrogen is generated by hydrolysis, thanks to the use of a chemical powder that, by reacting with water, releases hydrogen, which is then transformed into electricity by means of a fuel cell. In the end, this makes it possible to charge batteries, among other things.

The use of porous silicon nanopowders doubles the amount of hydrogen released by the system. However, the high cost of manufacturing porous silicon nanopowders means that Apollon has chosen to use a less efficient, but more economical, environmentally friendly chemical powder to begin the commercialization of its systems.

HPQ and Apollon will compare the technical and commercial potential of nanoscale silicon materials and porous silicon materials to create new generations of green powders with better performance for hydrogen production.

The agreement also gives HPQ the right to commercialize the system developed by Apollon, on an exclusive basis in Canada, and non-exclusively in the United States, while distributing and selling the powders required to produce hydrogen (“H2”) by hydrolysis. During the term of this renewal, HPQ will have the exclusive Canadian rights to distribute, sell, market, and represent the systems and associated packets to all its customers located in the United States.

A methodical approach for other cutting-edge sectors
The sixth renewal includes a clause regarding the review of other emerging advanced applications that could use micrometer and nanometer silicon materials produced with HPQ’s Nano PUREVAP™ NSiR for research centres and industrialists working on their uses in high-tech sectors.

“HPQ’s Silicon R&D Consortium has the depth and flexibility to meet the challenges, as we strive to produce products for renewable energy storage participants and electric vehicle manufacturers, who are searching for cost-effective ways of increasing the Silicon contained in their batteries. Silicon’s potential to meet energy storage demands is undeniable, generating massive investments, and serious industry interest. We are very confident that the Silicon materials we are producing, with our expected low-cost scalable processes, will be in high demand for batteries, and by EV manufacturers and other participants in the ongoing renewable energy revolution,” added Bernard Tourillon.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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