Titanium is a vital building block for renewable energy
When metal has to perform in extremely cold environments, like outer space; in extremely hot ones, like an airplane engine; or extremely erosive ones, like seawater, titanium is a strong choice – because of its high strength, light weight and resistance to erosion. It’s now being used to make highly efficient solar panels, underwater heating pipes, and renewable energy infrastructure. And because it’s lightweight, it can also help reduce fuel consumption, letting planes and cars go farther with less impact on our environment.
In 1791, English chemist William Gregor first discovered titanium, which he called “Gregorite”, but German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth independently rediscovered it and named it titanium after the “Titans” of Greek mythology. Four years later he isolated the compound we know as titanium dioxide today.
Titanium dioxide is a very white, opaque compound that absorbs ultraviolet rays and reflects 96% of light, so it’s been a primary ingredient in products like sunscreen, toothpaste, paint and cosmetics for over a century. These same properties are lending it to new applications that reduce carbon emissions – like paint used on buildings to reflect heat and reduce air conditioning energy consumption, and battery and solar technology.
Producing more critical minerals while reducing emissions
We are partnering with the Government of Canada to support technological innovations that could decarbonise our Canadian titanium oxide operations by up to 70%. This includes the BlueSmelting project, an ilmenite smelting technology that could generate 95% less greenhouse gas emissions than RTFT’s current reduction process, enabling the production of high-grade titanium dioxide feedstock, steel and metal powders while reducing our carbon footprint. We’re constructing a demonstration plant that will have the capacity to process up to 40,000 tonnes of ilmenite ore per year.