TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) is a pure white material and most people would recognise it as it is the main pigment used in paint, it is used in two-thirds of all pigments; there is an enormous global demand for the material.
However, its production is somewhat wasteful. Even the most efficient plants produce more waste than TiO2. Typically, waste reaches up to 1.5 tonnes per tonne of product produced, but it can rise up to 5 tonnes per tonne.
Currently, this waste is being landfilled.
There are two ways to produce TiO2. One uses Hydrochloric Acid and another that uses Sulphuric Acid. Both result in a waste liquor that is highly acidic and contains unreacted ore, dissolved metals and carbon.
This is then neutralised due to the very low pH levels. Once this neutralisation has occurred, the material is then landfilled.
“This is disappointing because the titanium ore contains traces of vanadium, scandium, niobium and zirconium, all of which are very useful materials that can easily be extracted from the liquor or neutralised solids,” says Michael Grimley, Managing Director of GSA.
“Landfilling also has to be carried out into controlled facilities, as the vanadium materials are hazardous. This has recently been made worse as TiO2 has been classified as a category 2 carcinogen in certain jurisdictions – both in a solid and liquid form.”
GSA has developed a way to efficiently extract raw materials from TiO2 waste, preventing it being buried back into the earth, which is not only wasteful but can have a detrimental effect on the planet.
“It’s important to try and recover the materials from TiO2 waste for fairly simply, obvious reasons,” Michael adds.
“Put crudely, the more you can take out of raw materials, such as ore or oil, the better.”
With Scandium, niobium, zirconium and vanadium all on many country’s lists of “critical materials” – meaning any substance or technology that is subject to supply risks and that has no easy substitutes – it’s crucial that we recover them from existing waste, rather than digging them out of the ground.
GSA has developed and patented a zero solid waste route for the TiO2 process, which would only result in a benign saline liquor that could suitably pass into the sea.
On top of this, we also have the capacity to return TiO2 back into the production system and improve the overall production and efficiency of TiO2.
If you would like to find out more about our Zero Solid Waste for TiO2 production, please contact a member of our team today.
We pride ourselves with having the knowledge and resources to tailor a process route to a particular client. We are open-minded because we’re not users for the end product, and therefore we consider all of the useful materials extracted, rather than only on one particular element.