The basic process for producing silicon has remained unchanged for decades: quartz or gravel (SiO2) 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 and forms CO gas, thereby reducing the quartz to 99% silicon in molten form. Next, 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.
The controls and containment mechanisms provided by Mississippi Silicon’s technology partner, SMS, have been refined throughout more than one hundred years of experience developing and installing submerged arc furnaces.
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 has been 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 is becoming one of the highest quality producers of silicon metal in the world.