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Renewable Energy
 
Solar energy is at the forefront of sustainable energy and with the production of more efficient and economical solar panels their use has been globally adopted.  Rice husks, traditionally a waste material, are now being used as a precursor for silicon in solar panels.  PRO is harnessing this waste material by developing a process solution in partnership with researchers at the University of Toronto to convert rice husks to solar grade silicon.  A highly efficient and novel processing technique is being investigated utilizing a cyclonic fluidized bed to obtain a silicon precursor that has physical and chemical properties ideally suited to our patented chloride leach technology to produce highly pure silicon.
 
Production of Solar Grade Silicon from Rice Husk Ash
 
As the demand for energy grows dramatically and sources of fossil fuel deplete, considerable attention is being paid to the production of renewable energy such as solar energy. This has resulted in a booming photo-voltaic (PV) industry growing at a dramatic rate of 20-30 % per year. The use of higher purity semiconductor-grade silicon increases the price of solar cells. Process Research Ortech is developing a process to  produce high purity silicon for solar cell fabrication starting from rice husk ash.
 
Energy From Biomass
 
Rice Husk is a waste material that can be used as a biomass source and is available in large quantities in developing Asian countries such as India.  Current methods of burning rice husks produce rice husk ash (RHA) that must be environmentally disposed of.  PRO in collaboration with Torftech have explored a novel processing technique to combust rice husk as a biomass energy source utilizing the TORBED® process reactor.  The resulting RHA, due to the nature of the combustion in the TORBED, possesses superior physical characteristics that make it suitable as a replacement material for expensive silica fume currently used in the production of high strength concrete.  This lateral thinking has produced a carbon neutral energy source for developing countries as well as a valuable by-product in the process.