IperionX has received a $12.7 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Defense to expand its titanium recycling demonstration plant in South Boston, a step toward bolstering the nation’s supply chain for the defense industry.

The federal award will allow IperionX to produce 125 metric tons of titanium powder annually, according to an Oct. 30 statement by DoD.

“There is a scarcity of reliable and sustainable sources of titanium supply due to the invasion of Ukraine, with the EU [European Union] still reliant on Russian titanium, and the U.S. primarily importing from Japan where major producers are nearing capacity and are increasing prices,” said the release.

IperionX is preparing to ramp up operations at its new plant in South Boston at the Southern Virginia Technology Park. The company is the first completely recycled titanium manufacturer in the U.S.

With the DoD award, provided through the Defense Production Act Investment program, IperionX will scale up the South Boston plant to a demonstration facility, a key step in commercializing the company’s industrial process for titanium recycling. A demonstration facility is typically the last step in the research and development process of new technologies.

Currently, the U.S. imports more than 95 percent of the titanium sponge required for its defense sector, according to DoD. IperionX is the only manufacturer on the country that uses 100 percent titanium scrap as feedstock for titanium alloys.

By “re-shoring” the country’s titanium supply, IperionX offers the promise of reducing reliance on foreign nations and building a domestic supply chain for the metal, used in a wide range of defense and industrial applications.

“Robust and resilient defense supply chains are critical to the war fighting capability of the United States,” said Laura Taylor-Kale, assistant secretary of defense for industrial base policy, in an Oct. 30 announcing the $12.7 million grant award. “Domestic titanium production is a top priority for the DoD’s industrial base programs.”

Titanium is also critical to other industries in the aerospace, space, medical, consumer electronics, defense, additive manufacturing, hydrogen and automotive sectors, the release said.

IperionX, based in Charlotte, N.C. announced in September 2022 that it would expand in South Boston with the opening of an $82 million pilot recycling facility at the Southern Virginia Technology Park. The company is expected to employ more than 100 workers within three years. The goal is to produce 10,000 metric tons of the powder per year within five years. IperionX also has a pilot plant in Utah.

Article by: Sovanow.com