Silicon Fire is presently focussed on pursuing the goal of developing and establishing the industrial and affordable production of renewable hydrogen and methanol.
One approach to the production of renewable Methanol takes place according to the following formula:
Renewable energy + water (hydrogen) + carbon dioxide (exhaust gases/industrial waste) = methanol
Hydrogen, which is essential for this process, can be obtained by means of the electrolysis procedure. Expressed simply, electrolysis functions as an industrial process in which water is broken down via "electrification" into oxygen and hydrogen. To initiate and carry out electrolysis, the basis of which was developed in the 19th century, a considerable amount of energy must be applied. If this energy is to be purely renewable energy, the production costs of renewable hydrogen, as they currently stand, increase to a significant degree.
Taking the next step, Silicon Fire has developed a more economically-advantageous alternative to renewable hydrogen production in the last few years called the silicon-hydrogen procedure. This process is based on chemical procedural steps, some of which have a long tradition but simply faded into obscurity in past decades. These procedural steps have been restructured and optimised. They can be advantageously incorporated into a procedure for the production of renewable methanol.
The basis of the silicon-hydrogen procedure by Silicon Fire is metallic silicon. This metallic silicon, produced renewably and available as a waste product from such sources as the computer chip industry, reacts with water (H2O). If water comes in contact with silicon, the water is reduced to hydrogen (H2). Oxygen (O2), broken down during the reduction of water, "oxidizes" the silicon to silicon dioxide (SiO2). In other words, silicon takes oxygen for oxidation from water from which the hydrogen is "left over". This happens because oxygen's "tendency to bond" is much stronger when bonding to silicon than it is when bonding to hydrogen.
However, because silicon even oxidises in air due to its strong tendency to oxidise to oxygen and is therefore surrounded by a solid oxide layer on its surface, the reduction reaction as described above cannot take place between silicon and water directly. Instead, the oxide layer of the silicon must be dissolved in a special procedure in order for the water to reach the bare metal. Only then can the Silicon Fire process be applied to produce renewable hydrogen, fuelled by the energy stored in the silicon.