Pursuit of technology
for a sustainable society
The businesses of Toho Titanium have developed widely based on our ceaseless efforts to develop new technologies and these technologies have been created by ourselves. R&D in Toho responds to the apparent demand from customers and contributes to the development of a sustainable society by the new processes and products that can reduce the environmental load.
01Decarbonization with a new smelting process of titanium
To reduce CO2 emissions considerably by implementation of the innovative smelting technology of titanium
The “Kroll Process,” which is the current smelting process of titanium, requires a vast amount of electric power and cokes as a reduction aid. In the new process under development, titanium ores are reduced by low-carbon/carbon-free Al into “crude titanium metals with high contents of O and Al” and then titanium metals are obtained by electro-refining of crude titanium.
Since this new process does not require cokes, and can reduce power consumption, we expect that CO2 emission is reduced by 70% from the current process. By adopting green power, we aim to achieve virtually zero CO2 emissions in the titanium smelting process.
■ Comparison between the current (Kroll Process) and the new process
02Power of titanium for EVs and solid-state batteries
With the LLTO technology, the performance of lithium ion batteries improves, to meet the growing demand for electric power.
The electric power generated from clean energy or renewable energy is most related to Goal 7 of the SDGs: “Affordable and Clean Energy.” High-performance batteries improve the degree of freedom for use of generated electricity. Currently, we are discussing lithium-ion secondary batteries, and the most discussed second-generation batteries are solid-state batteries composed of solid-state electrolyte.
We focused on lanthanum lithium titanate (LLTO), which is a solid-state electrolyte composed of titanic acid compounds, because we could utilize our technologies that have been developed for many years, and achieved an ion conductivity of 5×10-4Scm-1 at 27℃ with a plate-shaped material. There remain some issues to be solved before the practical application of solid-state batteries, but we will continue development for solving them.
- Plate-like and tube-like LLTO
Lineup of LLTO™ products
■ LLTO™ powder (reference values)
We have a diverse lineup of products, including granulated powder (an ordinary product) and pulverized powder.
|Product name||Ordinary product
|Newly developed product
|Newly developed product
|Specific surface area||1.4m2/g||2.5m2/g||10.4m2/g||50.3m2/g|
LLTO is a trademark of Toho Titanium Co., Ltd.
03Contribution to a hydrogen society with porous titanium
To utilize porous titanium sheets for hydrogen production equipment
We developed WEBTi®, a porous titanium metal sheet with a lot of micropores. “WEBTi®” is a new material that has both the characteristics of porous metal such as liquid permeability and conductivity and the features of titanium such as high corrosion resistance. We assume that it will be used for electrode materials, diffusion layers, filters and etc. in a severe corrosive environment. Nowadays, it is expected to be used for the anode-side diffusion layer of a water-electrolysis hydrogen generator with polymer electrolyte membranes (PEMs). A water-electrolysis is indispensable for realizing a hydrogen society which is one of the promising approach for reducing CO2. We will practically apply WEBTi® to PEM water-electrolysis as soon as possible, to contribute to the reduction of CO2.
WEBTi®-K –porous titanium sheet–
- Surface (SEM)
PEM water electrolyzer (Hydrogen production equipment)
04Significant omission of the production process of titanium foil
Direct manufacturing of titanium foil with electro-deposition
At present, titanium foil is produced through a lot of processes, including the melting of raw material, casting, hot rolling and multiple cold rolling. In the new process under development, production processes are significantly omitted because raw materials deposit directly in the foil form by electro-deposition in molten salt. Since electro-deposition has refining effects, inexpensive titanium scrap can be used as a raw material. Accordingly, it is expected to contribute to the saving of energy and resources.
The titanium foil produced through this process could be used for the bipolar plates of a water-electrolysis hydrogen generator with PEMs, corrosion-proof films of steel structures, etc. By using it, we could contribute to the reduction of CO2 and the maintenance of social infrastructure.
- Mechanism of smooth electro-deposition of titanium foil
- Deposited titanium foil of the A4 size
05Simplification of machining process with near net shape
Development of titanium alloy components with the powder blending and compression method
The workload and loss of material in machining process are one of the challenges for manufacturing of complex shaped parts made of titanium alloys because titanium alloys are relatively expensive and difficult to machine. We have developed the near net shape manufacturing technology with the “powder blending and compression method,” in which pure titanium powder and master-alloy powder are mixed, put into a mold, compressed and sintered to produce alloy parts. While this technology had existed from the past, we can easily produce materials in complex shapes by adopting resin molds made with a 3D printer. By this near net manufacturing process, it is expected that titanium alloy parts in various shapes are manufactured efficiently even in small lots and loss of materials is reduced.
■ Flowchart of the processes under development
- Sintered material
- Compressed powder
The titanium world, which is expanding
while looking ahead to future possibilities.
Titanium is being applied in a broader range of fields, because its potential as a material has been recognized.
We will make continuous efforts to make titanium used in a broader range of fields, in cooperation with clients.