HPQ Silicon

Vertically-Integrated Producer of Solar-Grade Silicon Metal

This profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*

Overview

HPQ Silicon (TSXV:HPQ) is a technology and resource company working towards becoming a vertically integrated producer of high-purity silicon metal (Si) and solar-grade silicon metal (SoG-Si). By entering into strategic partnerships with companies at different stages of the quartz-to-solar cell value chain, HPQ Silicon is re-thinking traditional process to make silicon metal (Si), re-defining the metallurgical approach to transform Si into SoG-Si and reducing associated costs.

Starting with a portfolio high-purity quartz properties in Quebec, Canada, HPQ Silicon came to the realization that to succeed it needed to find a way to transform its low value quartz resources into a higher value material, Silicon Metal, and ultimately Solar Grade Silicon Metal (SoG-Si), which is a higher purity form of Silicon Metal that allows the transformation of the sun’s energy into electricity in photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Silicon Metal (Si), is one of today’s key strategic metals, like Lithium and Cobalt, that is needed to fulfil the renewable energy revolution presently under way and that is why HPQ Silicon entered into a strategic partnership with Pyrogenesis, the company that is developing for HPQ the Purevap™ technology that efficiently transforms quartz into high-grade silicon metal to be used in solar cells. HPQ has also partnered with Apollon Solar, one of the world’s leaders in renewable energies, in an international development agreement. The companies will work together to use the silicon metal produced by Purevap™ in the development of multi-crystalline and monocrystalline solar cells.

As testing progresses on Pyrogenesis’ Purevap™ technology, the company has been committed to improving its efficiency. During Gen 2 testing, the company was able to increase the total mass of Silicon Metal produced by 1,900 percent and increased the production yield up to 34 percent. Pyrogenesis has also received the Gen 3 Purevap™ quartz reduction reactor furnace, which is a key component of the pilot plant equipment. The pilot plant will be assembled in an HPQ-specific area of Pyrogenesis’ Montreal facility and will be operational mid-2019 three years after the concept was first originated.

The solar energy market is one that is currently worth $34 billion and is consistently growing as renewable energy attains critical mass and continues to garner attention from consumers. Seeking to help address the needs of this market and working to dispel the challenges associated with the production of solar grade silicon metal, HPQ is on the path to delivering a cost-effective, innovative solution in the form of the Purevap™ reactor.

HPQ is led by a team of season resources, finance and manufacturing executives that have experience developing companies and projects in various stages of advancement. Key strategic partners, Pyrogenesis and Apollon, both of which bring in depth technological experience and knowledge are also part of the team.  Management, board and key strategic partners are significantly invested in the company, holding 20 percent of shares.

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Company Highlights

  • Working towards being a vertically-integrated producer of high-purity Silicon metal and solar-grade silicon metal
  • R&D technology team constructed through partnerships with Pyrogenesis and Apollon Solar
  • Rapidly proceeding through the R&D stages of Purevap™ technology with PyroGenesis to transforms quartz into high purity silicon metal (4N+ <1 ppm of B)
  • Working with Apollon to develop a low cost and green metallurgical pathway to transform Purevap™ Si into Solar Grade Silicon Metal (SoG-Si).
  • Gen 2 testing displayed a 1,900 percent increase in total mass of silicon metal produced and up to 34 percent increase in the production yield when compared to Gen 1 testing.
  • Gen 3 Purevap™ pilot plant equipment has been received by Pyrogenesis for assembly
  • Full-scale pilot plant expected to be operational Mid-2019
  • HPQ controls quartz property in Quebec that can be used as feed for Purevap™ Reactor
  • Addressing the needs of a $34 billion solar energy market
  • Strong management, board and strategic team holds 20 percent of company shares
  • Quebec Government invested $1,800,000 in the venture in 2018
  • Pilot plant project fully financed

Silicon in Solar

A fact unknown to many is that solar cells use solar-grade silicon metal to convert sun rays into electricity. The production of one watt of solar energy requires five grams of silicon metal.

Currently a $34 billion market, the solar market is expected to increase by a factor of 10 over the next 20 years. The growth in the market is being led by innovations such as Tesla’s solar products as well as by government demands for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite the size of the market and the appeal that might have to producers, there are number of challenges associated with silicon metal production. This includes issues such as high capital and operating costs; a multi-stage and complex smelting and refining process; and a large carbon and energy footprint expended during production. To help address these issues, HPQ has partnered with Pyrogenesis in the development of its Purevap™ technology and Apollon Solar to perfect a low cost and green metallurgical (UMG) process to transform the Purevap™ Si into Solar Grade Silicon Metal.

Purevap™ Technology

In 2016, HPQ entered into a research and development partnership with Pyrogenesis, a world leader in plasma technology innovation, regarding the development of a disruptive, second generation carbothermic process that will allow the one step transformation of quartz into High-Purity silicon metal. HPQ has a 90 percent stake in the project and is providing the strategic direction and marketing components.

In December 2017, HPQ signed an agreement with Apollon Solar and together they are working on using fully the unique capacity of the PurevapTM to produce a one step High Purity Silicon Metal, they are developing a low cost and green metallurgical process to convert the Purevap™ Si into Solar Grade Silicon Metal.

Compared to other solutions which use multiple steps and require significant amounts of strong acids or acid gas, the Purevap™ and UMG process will reduce significantly the numbers of steps required to produce SoG-Si. Once deployed, the Purevap™ Reactor and UMG process will eliminate several of the complex steps, reducing capital cost by between 60 to 85 percent and operational costs by between 30 to as much as 60 percent, reducing the use of aggressive chemicals and reducing the carbon footprint by at least 96 percent.

Testing and pilot plant

Over the course of 2017, the companies conducted extensive testing on the first generation of the Purevap™ Reactor, with the goal of identifying the best pathway in which to produce silicon metal at a 99.99 percent purity level. In 2017, the Gen 1 reactor was used to conduct ‘proof of concept’ lab scale testing which resulted in the production of silicon metal nuggets.

gen2-si-sample-7-hpq

During that time, Pyrogenesis was able to accelerate its testing schedule and launched its Gen 2 Purevap™ quartz reduction reactor ‘mini’ pilot plant in October 2017. This initial pilot is a 1/50 scale model of the anticipated 50 tonnes per annum pilot plant and is being used as part of the industrial confirmation phase, where HPQ will use Gen 1 results to focus on the design of the pilot plant and potential process improvements.

The next step in moving the project forward was to conduct Gen 2 testing, which focused on improving the process and the design of the plant. Results from the testing displayed a 1,900 percent increase in the total mass of silicon metal produced by the technology and up to 34 percent increase in the production yield when compared to Gen 1 testing.

Following Gen 2 testing, Pyrogenesis completed an audit of the Purevap™ pilot equipment for wear and tear, which outlined some additional design modifications that have been implemented for the Gen 3 Purevap™ pilot plant.

In September 2018, Pyrogenesis received its Gen 3 Purevap™ quartz reduction reactor furnace, which marks the start of the assembly phase of the pilot plant. HPQ expects the pilot plant to be operational in the near future, at just three years from the inception of the process.

Quartz Property Position in Quebec

In order to provide the feed material for the Purevap™ Reactor and the development of solar-grade silicon metal, HPQ owns certain high-purity quartz land claims in Quebec.  As testing advance, the specific requirement of the best Quartz to used in the Purevap™ process will be define and only then will HPQ complete additional exploration on its Roncevaux and Martinville properties.

Management

Bernard J. Tourillon, MBA—Chairman, President, CEO and Director

For the last 20 years, Bernard Tourillon has held senior-level executive positions with extensive finance, marketing, administration and public accounting experience in diverse industries including exploration and mining companies. Since joining HPQ Silicon in 2006, he has participated in fundraising activities and financial transactions worth over $12 million. Since 2010 he is participating into the transformation of HPQ Silicon from a simple exploration Corporation into High Purity Quartz and Gold Exploration Company focused on generating free cash flow. He was also instrumental in securing a partnership with PYROGENESIS, a world leader in plasma technology, to develop the PUREVAP™ QUARTZ VAPORIZATION REACTOR.

Patrick Levasseur—Vice-President, COO and Director

Patrick Levasseur has 10 years of experience as an Investment Executive with various Canadian Securities firms (ScotiaMcLeod, Research Capital, Laurentian Bank Securities). Previously, he worked as a Sales Executive and Director of Sales for major hotels. During which he was Founder and President of the Quebec Hotel Sales & Marketing Association. Other notable entrepreneurial accomplishments were to help in the expansion of the family business of retail Bridal Centers, founding and then selling a POS Technology company and a personal interest in geology and prospecting lead to the creation of Ice Age Gold Corporation.

Daryl Hodges—Independent Director

Daryl Hodges brings over 35 years of capital markets and global mining industry experience. He was a founding partner of Jennings Capital Inc. and from 2010 – 2013, and he served as Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman, as well as Director of Jennings Capital (U.S.A.). Inc. He is a geologist and currently serves as President of capital markets advisory firm, Ladykirk Capital Advisors.

Peter H. Smith, PhD, PEng—Director

Peter H. Smith is a Director and founder of Fancamp Exploration Ltd. and is presently Chairman of the Board and President. He has been a Director of Fancamp Exploration Ltd. and its predecessor company, Fancamp Resources Ltd, since January 1986. He is presently a Director of Lamêlée Iron Ore Ltd., since May of 2014 and served as a Director of Argex Titanium Inc. from October 2009 to May 2013. He has served as a Director of Litewave Corp. and St. Georges Platinum Base Metals Ltd. since January 2010, leaving the latter company in October 2010. He was a Director of Golden Hope Mines Ltd from May 1997 to August 2009. He is a member of the Ontario Order of Professional Engineers and is a former Director of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

Richard Mimeau, Bc—Director

Richard Mimeau holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University du Quebec a Montreal. He is currently General Director of the “Conseil des entreprise de services environnementaux”. He has many years’ experience in managerial positions in private companies as well as in political parties and associations. Notably, he has worked as advisor and campaign organiser for many prominent federal, provincial and municipal leaders.

Noelle Drapeau, LLL, MBA, PMP—Corporate Secretary, Director

Noelle Drapeau has 31 years of experience in commercial law. A certified ITIL, she performs project management in best business practices development and implementation in competitiveness and regulated activity sectors. She has achieved various business processes development, implementation, management and optimization projects in investment products, financial institutions and telecommunications sectors.

Robert Robitaille, MBA, LPh—Director

A management consultant for over 40 years, Robert Robitaille has worked for different entities in Canada and in other countries. Since 1989, he has been a director and the President of Secodev Management Group Inc., a firm focused on performing and developing organizations, effective management systems, efficient work organization and optimization of human resources.

Francois Rivard—CFO

Francois Rivard has 20 years of experience working in finance and accounting for private and publicly traded companies including Group Dynamis, Group DTM, Socanav and Afri-Can Marine Minerals.


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