Process1The basic process for producing silicon has remained unchanged for decades: quartz or gravel is blended with a carbon source and superheated in a submerged arc furnace. As the mix heats, the carbon reacts with the oxygen in the quartz, thereby reducing the quartz to 99% silicon in molten form. The liquid silicon is drained, or tapped, from the bottom of the furnace. Although the heating/reduction process is continuous while the furnace is in operation, raw materials are added to the furnace and silicon is tapped from the furnace in batches.

While the basic process has not changed, the use of metallurgical expertise, precision furnace controls, high quality raw materials and effective containment of the off-gases will make the Mississippi Silicon operation the most efficient and environmentally friendly in the world. The controls and containment mechanisms to be provided by Mississippi Silicon’s technology partner, SMS, have been refined throughout SMS’ more than one hundred years of experience developing and installing submerged arc furnaces.

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By using modern efficient technology supplied by SMS and by incorporating certain proprietary operating techniques developed by members of the management team and by Rima, Mississippi Silicon will be able to leverage its low-cost electricity, proximity to competitively-priced raw materials and advanced-process automation to become one of the lowest cost producers of silicon metal in both North America and the world. Additionally and just as importantly, Mississippi Silicon expects to be one of the highest quality producers of silicon in the world.