How can Scandium positively affect the aerospace industry when used as an alloy with Aluminium?
Scandium was first used in aircraft by the Soviet Union during the cold war.
The Russians produced Scandium Oxide from various sources and supplied to the military. The Scandium oxide was then developed and used in lightweight, high-performance AlMgLi-Sc materials for MIG 29 fighter jets which first entered service in 1985 being used in components such as nose cones, missiles, engines, wings, etc.
Aluminium has been critical to aerospace from the first flight to improve performance by reducing weight
1903 – The Wright Flyer
Although the Wright Flyer I was made mainly out of wood, in order to make the engine light enough, it had an aluminium crankcase.
1915 – First Metal Aircraft
Duralumin was used to build the first all-metal plane, the Junkers J1, developed in 1915 by Hugo Junkers, the famous German aircraft designer.
1920s – The Golden Age of Aviation
Al production became much cheaper allowing aluminium alloys to become the mainstream material for aerospace development
1930s – New Streamlined Aircraft
A new streamlined aircraft shape emerged, enabled because of the use of Aluminium.
The Modern Era – Boing 737
The best -selling commercial jet airliner in history, the Boeing 737, was launched in 1967, using mainly the Al2000 series aluminium alloy.
Today – Al 2024/Al 7075
Until now the most widely used aluminium alloy in aerospace is Al2024 although there has been further refinement.
The future – AlSc AlLi Composites
Nowadays, the focus is on improved emissions. Boeing and Airbus continue to work on new aluminium alloys such as AlLi or AlSc which promise even greater weight reduction and efficiency improvements. High-strength Aluminium alloys remain key airframe materials.
Example – AIRBUS A320
- Operating empty weight (OEW) – approx. 40mt
- 10% weight reduction using Aluminium-Scandium
- 4mt of aircraft weight eliminated
- Anticipation that every 1kg reduction results in 4000 litres of fuel-saving over the entire lifetime of the aircraft – or 16 million litres of fuel.
Alongside aviation, scandium is used in –
- Solid-state fuel cells
- Sports Equipment
- Automotive industry
- Welding wire
- Metal halide lighting
As a resource, Scandium is mainly produced as a co-product alongside other ores. However, the use of Scandium is limited by price due to this – a scandium mine is an expensive venture!
GSA Environmental has developed significant expertise in recovering Sc2O3 from titanium dioxide manufacturing plants; patenting their techniques as a ZERO WASTE OPTION. Recovering the scandium, vanadium, niobium as oxides, iron as goethite, aluminium and titanium hydroxides and in some cases also producing gypsum.
GSAe hydrometallurgy is much lower in capital and operating costs; as well as utilising what would otherwise be another landfilled waste material.
For further information and insight please contact Michael Grimley (email@example.com).
- Published in News
A crucial part of the future of renewable, clean energy, Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries are a type of rechargeable battery that is particularly suited for community-scale green energy storage.
VRFB is just one of the many uses of vanadium, which can be extracted along with other metals from titanium dioxide waste, power station ash and refinery residues.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the key benefits of VRFB and how they could be the answer to cleaner, greener and sustainable energy.
How does a VRFB work?
The batteries use vanadium ions in particular oxidation states to store chemical potential energy, and by altering the vanadium between oxidation states, they release some of this energy as electricity.
As excess electricity is being generated, VRFBs use the opposite mechanism to store electricity. The batteries are particularly suitable for green energy storage into a power grid or ‘behind the meter’ high power users.
But, how does this tie in with renewable energy?
A core feature of VRFB that helps it stand out from other batteries is its decades-long operating life.
As the vanadium electrolyte in different states is stored in separate parts of the battery – separated by a proton exchange membrane – energy can flow between the electrolyte on either side without degradation of the material.
In short, this means that there’s no chemical change and allows the battery to operate indefinitely without losing activity.
A safe option.
VRFBs are also less likely to overheat and catch fire than traditional batteries, because 50% of the electrolyte is made from water, making it non-flammable.
So, even in cases of damage, intense heat, high pressure or short-circuiting, the battery is unlikely to catch fire. Of course, some heat may be discharged from a VRFB, but not at a level that is unsafe.
Can be discharged for a long time.
As part of a wider energy mix, VRFBs can provide large-scale energy to multiple users over hours of demand, without the need for large banks of cells.
As there is no degradation, 100% of the vanadium can be reused once the battery is removed. This has led to some discussion in the industry about leasing arrangements for the material, rather than a pure sale, to reduce upfront battery costs.
A key part of our renewable future.
While lithium-based batteries are well suited to consumer electronics and electric vehicles, their lifetimes can be limited. As discussed earlier, VRFBs charge and discharge cycles without wearing out. This is an important factor when matching a varied set of energy demands.
By relying on a vanadium electrolyte solution held in storage tanks, vanadium redox flow batteries can store energy from renewable sources, including solar, wind or wave power, and release it when required.
At GSAe, our core technology supports this future by recovering vanadium from ‘secondary sources’, such as refinery residues (heavy ends, vacuum residue catalysts etc), ash created in oil-fired power stations and desalination plants, and TiO2 waste.
This is a more environmentally-beneficial method to traditional means as it recovers the vanadium (and other metals) from a source that has already been extracted and would otherwise be wasted in landfill. This does not replace other methods of production in terms of scale, but adds to and improves raw material usage.
- Published in News
Meet our Managing Director Michael Grimley. Born in Scunthorpe, Michael has grown up with a keen interest in science and technology. Now, he leads the team at GSAe by day, while spending his spare time with his family, playing rugby, squash and football.
For National Boss Day, we caught up with him to find out more about his role at GSAe.
What first interested you in chemical/process engineering?
In my mid-teens, I did some work experience in chemistry labs as a metallurgist carrying out non-destructive testing and CAD operating. It was around this time that I quickly realised that the only people I knew who still retained a sense of job fulfilment, alongside an interest in what they were doing and a desire to improve the environment – broadly speaking – engineers.
My father is a chemical engineer, and I had met a lot of his colleagues, so I saw a broad set of opportunities. It seemed like a good idea when I was looking to go to university to choose something that would be fulfilling through my whole working life.
What’s an average day look like for the Managing Director of GSA?
I enjoy my ability to retain a technical role within the company.
Mostly, this is providing technical authority type observations and directing the projects at a high level, and then input to the research and development programme that we have at our laboratories in Lincoln.
Sometimes, I’m able to get a proper look at elements because of particular experience from my project background, which is also rewarding. If I can do that 50% of my time then I’m happy.
The other 50% tends to be liaising with clients, potential clients and partners about contracts and business opportunities that we are pursuing around the world.
There’s also the strategic work within the executive management team looking at cash flow, personnel and the laboratories. If I could add more % then I would as there is an ever-expanding demand for time, due to telecommunications and the geographic spread of our business opportunities.
What do you do outside of the office?
I look after my wife, children, house, garden and – very occasionally – myself; in that order!
What’s your favourite thing about the job?
Honestly, I enjoy the fact that the work we do could/should and will make a difference to the environment, given the unavoidable truth that we are – as a planet – reliant on power.
What’s your least favourite thing about the job?
Travel can be a burden. Although I enjoy visiting new countries, it takes you away from what’s important. Video- and teleconferencing do make a massive improvement to this, but sometimes, you just have to get on a plane and work away from home.
If you didn’t go down this career path, what would you see yourself doing instead?
There are two answers here really – at the time I made my choices I was very keen on being a barrister. However, if I were allowed to choose again and it had to be different, then I think I would have liked to be a teacher in subjects I enjoy such as history and maths.
Want to find out more about what we do? Speak with Michael today.