PyroPhos: Unlocking Global Phosphate Reserves
PyroPhos Pty Ltd developed the PyroPhos™ smelting technology for converting phosphate ore to phosphoric acid. This pyrometallurgical technology offers producers significant financial and technical advantages over the traditional wet acid process.
Phosphate is essential to life and an irreplaceable component in fertilisers. The global market global market size is estimated at US$51.6 billion. Phosphate fertilisers are consumed by farmers in every country.
However, global phosphate producers are grappling with increasing production costs as the highest grade ores are consumed.
The industry predominantly uses a process known as the ‘wet acid’ process route. There has not been a major technical breakthrough in this phosphoric acid production process in more than 20 years.
PyroPhos and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, a government agency) adapted and patented this smelting technology for use on phosphate ores.
In 2018 the technology was licensed to the Australian company, Pyrophos. They were selected as the preferred development partner due to their experience, backing and credibility.
Supported by CSIRO's 40 years of furnace expertise, Pyrophos is now working to further develop the technology for market in collaboration with phosphate producers, resources owners and fertiliser traders.
PyroPhos has exclusive global rights to the CSIRO patent and this creates a material barrier to potential competitors.
PyroPhos will trigger a new wave of development in the phosphate fertiliser industry including:
- Early movers gain the maximum economic advantage while late movers are forced up the cost curve
- Swapping sulphur for coke or biomass will open up new phosphate producing regions by removing the need to be adjacent to a sulphur capable shipping port. This could make a number of smaller inland phosphate deposits viable.
- Production of inert slag as the solid waste product is now economically feasible
- Accelerate the move to soluble fertilisers. All PyroPhos units are capable of producing soluble grade phosphate blendstock
- Stepping stone technology. This technology has the potential to transform a regional fertiliser company into a multi-plant global major
History Of Process Routes
Below is a summary of the leading phosphoric acid conversion processes and their timelines
- 1929 to 1938 the Blast Furnace Process. Successful at the time but now obsolete due to energy consumption and efficiency of the 1930’s era wet scrubber design
- 1933 to 1977 Electric Furnace Process. A submerged electric arc furnace using coke and ore. Successful at the time but obsolete for widespread use due to high energy costs. Still used successfully today for small plants producing high purity phosphoric acid and phosphorus
- Today, wet acid process used commonly for bulk phosphate fertilisers. Sulphuric acid from rock sulphur dissolves phosphate and precipitates gypsum. Dependant on cheap sulphur
- 2018 PyroPhos Process updates the historically successful thermal process route for smaller scale processing of low cost ores
Has had more than 20 years of commercial experience working with both Australian and international public and private companies in the resources and new technologies sectors. Mark just commissioned an ion exchange membrane production plant only 9 months after impressive lab results. He is a panel member for the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies (FLEET).
Founder, Executive Project Director
A Chemical Engineer and formerly Director Mined Fertilisers, WorleyParsons and has held the roles of Project Manager and Process Engineer for WorleyParsons, ThyssenKrupp, BHP Billiton and ExxonMobil. He is a founding member of the PyroPhos project and has presented papers at multiple international phosphate conferences. Brian has actively worked in phosphates in more than 15 countries.
Ross is a globally leading pyrometallurgist who was one of the original CSIRO developers of the Top Submerged Lance furnace technology that was later marketed as Ausmelt. Ross has 30 years of metallurgy experience developing and applying pyro process technologies. His experience is a major asset to our team.
Michael holds BS and MS degrees in metallurgical engineering and, for the last 40 years, he has either managed or was the process lead on over 50 feasibility studies and engineering projects comprising sedimentary, igneous, and marine phosphate ore types. His experience encompasses phosphate projects on five continents and in over 20 countries.
PyroPhos offers their expertise both as a technology licensor and to groups investing in waste stockpile re-treatment.
PyroPhos is suitable for re-treatment opportunities including phosphate overburden, screenings waste and crushing rejects where the residual phosphate levels are of moderate quality. Of particular interest are stock piles which are sub-economic due to high levels of one of more of magnesium, aluminium, carbon, chlorine, fluorine, titanium, sodium or potassium.
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