Following the very first powders produced from our calciner in late May, Calix has now successfully run eight different products and grades to specification. The calciner itself has been run through its paces to enable us to confirm operational performance.
The technology has performed to design and Calix now considers it “de-risked”. With our first product sales starting to occur, our sights are now set on commercialising the considerable potential of our technical success. In this newsletter, we will touch on the commissioning and production milestones achieved at our Myrtle Springs mine and at Bacchus Marsh – all on time, on budget and with a continuing impeccable safety record. We will also cover our first initial commercial successes in raw materials sales, waste water treatment, soil stabilisation and building products. Also, the enormous potential of our Endex technology in the field of CO2 mitigation continues to grow, with the award of a ~AUS$ 1 m EU ASCENT grant to develop next-generation CO2 sorbents. And last but not least, we will introduce another key Calix team member, who has lead our great successes in R & D and product development over the last 15 months. I hope this Newsletter gives you a flavour of Calix’s considerable achievements over the last three months, and we welcome any questions or feed-back.
Between June and August, Calix commenced operation at its Myrtle Springs mine. Operations first involved a comprehensive road upgrade, followed by an initial campaign where an exposed magnesite seam was ripped and crushed.
Calix, and its on-site mining contractor A & M.J.Musolino Pty. Ltd. are pleased to report that the campaign was completed according to plan, with no safety incidents. A second campaign is now in the planning and approvals phase, and is targeted for Q2, 2014.
The successful commissioning of the large scale CFC15k Calciner and associated materials handling systems was managed through a carefully planned commissioning punchlisting process, safeguarding Calix’s well-earned reputation as a quality and safety focussed operation. Having now successfully produced various “on-spec” products for sales, product development and customer trials, the operations and maintenance team has now shifted into a production mindset.
“Operational Excellence” will be achieved from rolling the knowledge gained during commissioning into product quality control, energy efficiency optimisation and safe operating practices. This shift towards a production-focussed environment has demonstrated the ability of the Calix CFC reactor to consistently produce a range of high quality products at a stable and sustained throughput.
The production schedule has already included:
• ACTI-Mag™ 50, 100 and 150 magnesium oxide powder grades for agricultural and building products applications;
• ACTI-Mag magnesium oxide powders and slurries for waste water treatment;
• ACTI-MkTM 70 and 95 metakaolin powder grades as a pozzolanic cement admixture;
• Semidolime and dolime from Dolomite for agricultural and adsorption applications;
• NOVA-Mag slurries with varying properties for extruded, cast and aerated building product applications;
• Partially-calcined lime as a trial run for lime processing technical development.
Design improvements identified throughout the construction and commissioning process have been identified, captured and integrated into our engineering systems for future designs through via formal review held in mid-August with the Pymble-based Engineering team.
Moving forward there are prospects for further energy optimisation, carbon dioxide capture and product development with our exciting range of high quality products in conjunction with our customers and partners.
Calix’s first sale of magnesite from its Myrtle Springs mine took place in August, following a successful mining campaign. About 500 tonnes of product was successfully shipped to Sibelco in South Australia.
Roger Ward, SIBELCO Area Manager was pleased with Calix’s performance….“It has all gone well. In fact the guys have been very complimentary about the trucks and drivers and how they went about it.”
The remainder of the magnesite from the first mining campaign will be progressively brought to Bacchus Marsh for calcination into our MgO-based products.
Calix is pleased to announce the successful delivery of a 4 tonne trial of ACTI-Mag™, which is a concentrated stabilized suspension of 40% magnesium hydroxide. ACTIMag™ is hydrated from Calix reactive magnesium oxide imparting excellent neutralisation speed due to the high surface area. The customer has now proceeded to place an order for further trials of ACTI-Mag™.
The customer is very happy with the stability and flow ability of the ACTI-Mag™ and has found the concentration to be a big benefit in the application of the magnesium hydroxide into his system. The Mg(OH)2 slurry is used to control odours and prevent corrosion in a sewage system by stopping the production of Hydrogen sulphide and sulphuric acid.
The customer was pleased with the ACTI-Mag’s ability to raise the pH in an easily controlled manner to a maximum of 9, unlike the other experience with alkali additives. The ACTI-Mag™ is OHS friendly and environmentally friendly. Calix ACTI-Mag™ Slurries provide more alkalinity than equivalent lime, and caustic soda. It also offers some major advantages over them in OHS, buffering pH, and environmental performance.
ACTI-Mag™ has applications in the neutralisation market, heavy metal capture in water treatment plants, flue gas treatment (sulphur dioxide, chloride removal), food applications and chemical processing.
Currently, Calix is the only producer of Metakaolin in Australia, and one of only a handful internationally. Metakaolin is extensively used overseas as the “pozzalanic” (active cement additive / improver) of choice, but because of logistical and supply cost issues, it is not yet widely used in the Australian Industry.
Calix and its distribution partner, international chemical company Lanxess, hope to change this in the near future, contributing to the development and productivity of the Building and Construction Industry.
Calix produces two grades of Metakaolin: ACTI-Mk™95 & ACTI-Mk™70. Both are produced by flash calcination in our CFC15000 reactor at Bacchus Marsh, 40 kilometres northwest of Melbourne in Victoria.
They are produced from different kaolinic feed clays and have specific market targets, enhancing the strength and durability of building materials and making them more resistant to chemical attack. Instead of directly heating minerals in the traditional way, we heat them indirectly and thus do not introduce impurities into the process, and can carefully control the calcination conditions.
Metakaolin present benefits in a wide range of applications:
Metakaolin exhibits all of the beneficial pozzalanic characteristics of Silica Fume with the following additional benefits:
• Super plasticizer can be reduced by approximately 50% while achieving the same slump;
• Disperses more easily with less dust;
• Increased early compressive strength (3-28 days);
• No significant colour change.
To quote a local customer following some initial testing they did of Calix Metakaolin “This is Silica Fume on Steroids.”
“Our proprietary Catalytic Flash Calcination (CFC) process enables us to produce a high active Metakaolin from local feed clays. The use of Metakaolin as a partial substitute for Portland Cement can enhance properties and reduce the carbon footprint on construction projects” says John Knights, Business Development Manager - Calix Limited.
With the successful commissioning of the CFC15000 calciner and the production of on-spec magnesium oxide (MgO) powders, Calix is moving quickly to establish high-value downstream products. One area of enormous potential is the MgO-based building board market.
Currently, MgO boards are imported from China. While these imported boards require lower energy to produce than cement–based materials, they require setting compounds for efficient mass production such as Magnesium Chloride, which generate additional structural and environmental concerns.
Calix’s unique, highly active NOVA-MagTM slurries do not require the use of Magnesium Chloride. Calix’s MgO boards formulations are a world first in this regard. In early September, Calix successfully commissioned its board-making facility at Bacchus Marsh and has began producing panels for product development testing with potential business partners.
Calix has been awarded a €750 k grant over the next four years as part of a collaborative grant with 13 universities and companies, as well as the Australian CO2CRC, to study new CO2 sorbents for application in its Endex CO2 capture technology.
The grant comes on top of the UK Government’s DECC award of £5.8 m to develop the Endex technology as a demonstration project, which is progressing through Front-End Engineering Design. The grants reflect the growing interest in Calix’s Endex technology as potentially the most energy-efficient process to de-carbonise fuels available that is industry ready.
Other highpotential applications of the technology in capturing CO2 and sulphides from natural gas, and in the production of urea, continue to be explored.
Khokan joined Calix in May 2012 as R & D Manager to lead the test work on Calix’s pilot and commercial calcination plants, develop recipes for MgO-based boards/panels, fertilisers and slurries, and lead the test work on numerous other product developments. Khokan graduated in Chemical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) in 1998 and migrated to Australia in 2001. In 2003, he completed a post graduate diploma in IT (software development) from RMIT University to focus on numerical simulation, and then continued to work with RMIT to develop a rheological model of blown film extrusion of low density Polyethylene. During this time, he published two peer reviewed international journals and became a member of the Australian Society of Rheology. In 2008, Khokan joined the R&D division at Plantic Technologies Ltd as a Process and Development Engineer to develop starch-based bio-polymers for food packaging applications. He was promoted to Research Scientist and Pilot Plant Manager in 2011, and he and his team developed several resin recipes for blown film and injection moulding processing. In 2010, he completed a Cert-IV in Front Line Management from the Kangan Institute, Melbourne, and in 2013, he received a diploma in Project Management from the Australian Institute of Management, Melbourne. In just over one (very busy !) year with Calix, Khokan and his team have tested over 800 formulations for building materials and identified multiple recipes to manufacture MgO boards/panels and cements, including hydromagnesite slurries based upon Calix’s Novacem technology. Currently, he has been engaged in Mg(OH)2 slurry development for wastewater treatment, development of phosphate fertilisers through calcination processing and development of Metakaolin to replace silica fume in the cement industry. At home, he enjoys time with his wife Bithi, three-year old son Ronodeep and his parents. Outside of work, he loves gardening, watching cricket/music videos/documentary movies on TV and reading journals/books. He plays tennis, soccer and badminton and is a great supporter of the Australian Cricket team.