Scientific overview

The Aerodynamic Separation Process (ASP) is Klydon's proprietary technology for separating components of a gas mixture or different isotopes of a specific gaseous compound based on the mass difference of the gas components or the isotopes.

This is achieved by a high-speed centrifugal rotation of the said gas mixture or isotope mixture where the separation obtained is the net effect of the centrifugal forces and the versatility in deployment of Stokes forces acting on the mass particle.

A lesser-known embodiment of the principles of centrifugal separation is the stationary wall centrifuge that has no moving mechanical parts.

ASP principles relate to a device for the separation of gas components and isotopic species, which utilizes novel extensions to the genesis concepts of the stationary wall centrifuge that is in the public domain.

Competitive Edge : A Uranium enrichment perspective

The accrued isotope separation experience of key Klydon personnel on various separation processes (Vortex, Centrifuge, MLIS, AVLIS, CHEMLIS and ASP) is in excess of 500 man years. This experience qualifies Klydon to benchmark the ASP technology against the reference and emerging technologies of the previous and existing decades (gaseous diffusion, centrifuge and laser excitation) and to deliver an authoritative opinion on the ASP technology's competitive edge.


ASP technology offers a lower-than-benchmark cost alternative to isotope separation for uranium, and is expected to be welcomed by industry and political bodies worldwide. One of the major benefits of employing this technology is the reduced capital costs enabling smaller plants to be economically viable.

 

 

The advantages of ASP technology over other technologies can be summarised as:

  • Significantly reduced capital cost.
  • Energy costs comparable to that of gas centrifuge process (bench mark) leading to total operating costs that are lower than the centrifuge process.
  • The reduced capital costs enable plants of smaller capacity to be economically viable.
  • A potentially big advantage of the ASP process is that the smaller economy of scale, and the lower total operation cost (including the construction capital costs) provide a compelling argument in favor of building enrichment plants to re-circulate uranium "tails" thus solving a big environmental problem for the nuclear energy industry.
  • The lower total operating cost of a plant based on the ASP technology will enable enrichment to more optimum levels thus generating 'tails' of lower U-235 content (down to 0.1% typically envisaged).

 

ASP technology has a wide application because of its ability to efficiently and economically separate isotopes of lower mass, the so-called 'lighter' isotopes. 


This opens the door for ASP to be applied to the separation of the following stable isotopes:

  • Silicon enrichment. With application in the fields of semi-conductors, solar heating and the pebble bed modular reactor project.
  • Zirconium enrichment (or depletion) applied to nuclear power reactors. By depleting (the opposite of enrichment) the Zr-91, -92 and -96 isotopes, the neutron economics of the nuclear power plants is greatly enhanced.
  • Other applications in nuclear plants such as Boron and Gadolinium enrichment improving economics and safety in these installations.
  • This technology can also be applied to the production of pure isotopes with applications in medicine. Isotopes are used both for diagnostic purposes and for certain treatments such as Chemotherapy.  With isotope-pure chemicals the treatments and procedures can be more focused and improved dosing will result in fewer side effects.
  • ASP application for the removal of impurities in methane gas thereby enabling the application of this technology to the very large natural gas market.

 

Alpha Plant

 

 

Klydon's isotope separation technology has been successfully demonstrated in the Alpha Plant, a pilot plant facility that was constructed and commissioned during 2007-2008 for the enrichment of the Si-28 isotope from natural silicon. The major objectives of the Alpha Plant were:

  • To act as the ASP technology demonstrator,
  • To serve as a benchmark to determine separation costs and specific energy consumption, and validate separation unit performance and cascade configuration,
  • To manufacture limited quantities of the Si-28 isotope, a product with application in the semi-conductor and solar energy industries. These samples are to be used to evaluate the improvements and estimate the market potential for Si-28 in certain market applications.

The Alpha Plant has the following characteristics:

  • Silicon feedstock is the form of silane gas (SiH4) in a H2 carrier gas
  • Separation design capacity of 1000 SWU, or approximately 1300 kg Si-28 (as silane) enriched to 98%
  • Fully integrated control systems
  • In-house testing facilities for compressors and separation unit performance


 

Innovations and applications

Uranium enrichment Uranium enrichment for fuel in nuclear energy;
Nuclear Isotope Nuclear-related isotopes: Boron, Zinc, Zirconium, Deuterium, etc.
Silicon Enrichment Silicon enrichment, for improved thermal management of microprocessor chips and for improved solar cell efficiency
O2 Health Care O-18 & Mo-100 for healthcare;
GAS Separation Gas Separation - Methane harvesting from Natural Gas Wells, Biogas, Shale Gas, etc.