Lava Blue

Value adding Australian minerals – Advanced manufacturing of high-purity alumina for batteries, sapphire glass and LEDs

Lava Blue
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Industry partner

Lava Blue Ltd

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Research organisation

Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

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Manufacturing investment

$4.45 million
($645,000 IMCRC)
for 2019–2022

A “smart” pilot manufacturing plant to produce high purity alumina (HPA)

Challenge

High purity alumina (HPA) – a chemically inert ceramic material with high thermal and electrical resistivity – is a critical component in the production of many high technology applications including electronic displays; semiconductors; sapphire glass and separators for both lithium ion and aluminum batteries. To meet the growing HPA demand, Lava Blue has set out to transform the way HPA is manufactured today.

Proposed Solution

Lava Blue is partnering with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to develop a resilient, agile and highly competitive manufacturing process to transform kaolin, an aluminum-bearing clay, into high-purity alumina (HPA).

Having successfully produced HPA in a lab environment, QUT researchers will design and establish a pilot manufacturing plant to support and progress Lava Blue’s HPA production. By applying advanced manufacturing principles and incorporating inline monitoring technology, developed by QUT, the team will track and analyse the mineral processing route to optimise the overall plant performance.

With the help of machine learning and robotic manufacturing techniques, the HPA production process will be tailored to potential customer requirements. By integrating feedback loops, the pilot plant can be easily upscaled into a modular commercial plant with optimal financial returns and reduced risk for Lava Blue.