Low energy recycling of silicon waste
into high value materials
WHO WE ARE
By use of new proprietary technology, we reprocess silicon waste, aluminum and other metals into high value materials.
Production of wafers for solar panels is a resource intensive process where not more than 60% the silicon material that goes into the process ends up in the finished product. The rest, approximately 40%, is process waste.
In close collaboration with Leading Industry players, Research Organizations and Academia, Nuvosil has developed a break-through, low energy and low CO2 process (Low Energy Recycling) for remanufacturing of such silicon “waste” in combination with other metal materials. The Low Energy Recycling process provides an alternative to industry standard remelt recycling – using 80-85% less energy.
PRODUCTION OF SILICON WAFERS generates ~40% of the starting material as waste (swarf)
Silicon metal particle waste (swarf) results from the sawing process and is recovered by filtering.
Nuvosil’s Low Energy Master Alloy (LEMA) rods – using an environmentally friendly and novel screw extrusion process eliminating the need for high energy intensity heating or re-melting. These master alloy rods are made up of silicon and aluminum. Compared to conventional alloying processes, the LEMA technology consumes/ 90 % less energy, costs less per processed unit and offers a cleaner end-product.
CLEANER – higher purity & less CO2
CHEAPER – lower cost
GREENER – 90% less energy
The key element of the Low Energy Recycling (LER) process is a unit for screw extrusion of metal materials, the LER Extruder. The technology was initially developed for use on small particle aluminum materials. In 2018, Nuvosil tested the process on a combination of aluminum and silicon. The tests provided very promising results, and in 2020 Nuvosil and Hydro, backed by Norwegian governmental agency ENOVA, launched the LER Pilot project, aimed to build the world’s first industrial scale screw extruder for metal materials, the LER Extruder Pilot. Project partner Reifenhauser GmbH finalized manufacturing of the pilot in December 2021.
During 2022 and first half of 2023 the pilot has been subject to extensive testing, focused both on the equipment, input material and properties of the finished product.
In december 2022 Nuvosil launched the second LER project, LER II, focused on preparations for commercial phase. In May 2023 ENOVA approved also the LER II project for financial support, with a 45% / MNOK 11 grant.
Nuvosil aims to launch its 100% recycled Al/Si alloy as the first commercially available source of recycled silicon. In EU silicon is a Critical Raw Material, (critical raw materials act), for which there is a target to drastically increase recycling rates – from 0% today to 15% in 2030
Research & Development
Ref: Hydro patent (US9616633B2)
Illustration by permission of Hydro
Illustration by permission of Hydro
Pilot & Commercial Scale Development
LER II - Prepartion for comercial phase
CEO & Founder
Former CEO and General Counsel of NorSun
Former General Counsel of Scatec and Partner at Frick, Langseth Law, Oslo.
LL.M, University of Oslo and Stanford University Executive program 2017.
- CEO of Rever Group, a private industrial investment group.Former Managing Director and EVP, Corporate Finance & Investments at Norwegian Energy Company ASA (Noreco).
- BSc in Finance from BI Norwegian Business School and MSc in Business Finance from Queen Mary University of London.
Idar Kjetil Steen
Former Chief Engineer, Project Manager and R&D Process Engineer Norsk Hydro
Product Responsible Casting, Hycast
Metallurgist , AMR Engineering
Master of Scienc, Physical Metallurgy, NTH Trondheim
Former Senior Scientist and Research manager at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry.
VP R&D and CTO in NorSun for 15 years
PhD in Materials technology from NTNU, Trondheim.
Director & Founder
Former Director of Silicon R&D at SunPower.
Former Director of Technology at Intevac (commercialized solar implanters).
Former VP of Engineering at Solar Implant Technologies.
Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and B.S. in Nuclear Engineering, Univ. of California-Berkeley.
Norwegian investor and businessman with 30+ years track record from investments in various sectors, mainly oil & gas, oil services and offshore.
Based in Oslo and London where he operates through his investment platform Rever Group and his private company Ousdal AS.
Currently chairman of Nuvosil AS, Noreco, Rever Offshore and Cecon Contracting AS.
Director & Founder
CEO at Verdagy, a company focusing on green hydrogen.
Board of Trustees Member of the Ellen Macarthur Foundation chartered with advancing the Circular Economy
Former COO of SunPower and Flextronics
Recipient of the ASQ Hutchens Medal for Sustainability
BS, United States Military Academy at West Point and MBA from Univ. of Florida
May 2023, Nuvosil granted MNOK 11 by ENOVA for next development steps
Preparing for commercial phase, Nuvosil launched in December 2022 the LER II project. The project aim to continue and finalize the equipment development, qualify Nuvosil’s 100% recycled aluminum / silicon alloy with key customers, and prepare the LER concept for commercial implementation. Following a detailed evaluation during 1H, ENOVA approved the project for financial support in May 2023.
“The Nuvosil process offers significant benefits compared to conventional recycling. Fossil fuel / gas is replaced with clean electricity as energy source, energy consumption is reduced drastically and recycling rates for small particle metals are increase”, says senior adviser Ståle Kvernrød in Enova, pointing out that there are usually large losses in traditional recycling.
“We are humbled, proud and very grateful for ENOVA’s continued support” says Bjørn-Olav Brelin, Nuvosil Co-founder and CEO. “The financial grant ENOVA provides is crucial for our ability to continue and speed up efforts towards industrial implementation and commercial phase. Equally important, however, is ENOVA guidance and active involvement in the planning and design of this next phase”, says Brelin.
The Low Energy Recycling (LER) Pilot project was granted financial support by ENOVA for in the amount of MNOK 9,6. The project is a collaboration between Norsk Hydro and Nuvosil, aimed to verify scalability of the Low Energy Recycling process for use on a combination of silicon and aluminum, and aluminum either alone or in combination with non-silicon materials. The total budget is MNOK 18,3 and the project shall be completed by year end 2021. In addition to Nuvosil and Hydro resources, the LER Pilot project is supported by a strong team of technology and industry partners: SINTEF, NTNU, Reifenhauser GmbH and CEMTEC GmbH.