Some examples of innovations
The innovative solutions developed by Imerys reduce the environmental impact of its products throughout their lifecycle, while contributing to improving its customers’ creativity, quality, yield and ease of production. Here are some examples of products launched recently by the various business groups.
Proppants in the extraction of unconventional oil and gas
Proppants, used in the extraction of unconventional oil and gas deposits, are beads used to prop open fractures in the rock. They are experiencing significant growth in the United States and demand is set to increase in the coming years. Imerys rapidly identified the potential of this market and has already filed 14 patents in this field. In 2008, the Group launched a small production unit for an innovative proppant. Its elongated shape helps increase the productivity of wells, while reducing the use of polluting additives. Opened at the end of 2011, the new ceramic proppants lines draws on the reserves of bauxitic kaolin held by the Group in southern Georgia (United States) and benefits from the facilities of a specialty refractories plant.
Carbon for the Li-Ion battery
A Li-Ion battery allows energy to be stored through the reversible exchange of lithium ions between a negative electrode (composed of specific carbon, graphite or other products) and a positive electrode (made of various metallic oxides and conducting additives such as carbon black). Reversible storage of ions on the negative electrode is made possible by a special carbon which has proved harmful and whose mechanical process consumes a large amount of energy. To respond to health and environmental concerns, Timcal, an Imerys subsidiary and world leader in carbon black, proposed an alternative solution in 2005. This was subsequently improved before being launched as a new product in 2011.
Zirconia for oxygen sensors
This product, developed several years ago, is a key component of advanced ignition systems for modern cars. Oxygen sensors act as a small fuel cell. In cells of this type, combustible gas is oxidized,
generating a current as it passes through a ceramic membrane. In oxygen sensors, a very small fraction of exhaust gas is taken up. This small amount of gas goes through a ceramic membrane made from
yttrium oxide-stabilized zirconia before regaining the oxygen in air. The difference in electrical potential generated in this way depends on the oxygen content of the initial gas, the composition of which can therefore be measured. In practice, two cells are used in a row to make the mechanism more accurate. An especially demanding automotive parts supplier chose Imerys zirconia because of its
Discover other innovations developed by the business groups in the Sustainable Development section.