Energy / Climate Change

September 20, 2013


Hosei University Develops Technology to Concentrate Gallium 920-Fold

Keywords: Environmental Technology Fossil Fuels University / Research institute 

Professor Takaya Akashi of Hosei University announced on March 11, 2013, that his research team developed a technology for concentrating gallium from mineral ore by a factor of 920. Gallium is a material used to produce solar cells and LED bulbs.

Dependent on foreign imports for most of the gallium used in products such as solar cells, Japan faces price and supply volatility problems due to increases in demand, export control by exporting countries, and other factors. To ensure a stable gallium supply, Japan is awaiting a technological development enabling the separation and recovery of highly concentrated gallium from ore mined in Japan.

Professor Akashi developed a carbothermal reduction and high-temperature oxidation method to heat gallium-containing ore at 1,000 degrees Celsius, and succeeded in concentrating 50 parts per million of gallium contained in ore by a factor of 920. Moreover, the method requires no treatment of waste liquid in contrast to the conventional wet method, because it is a dry method that uses no solution.

The research team aims to put the technology into practice by enlarging the equipment and increasing the gallium concentration factor in collaboration with companies in Japan.