sententia per scientia
The ©SILANAT History
Preamble to FEAT:
FEAT is the initials of the Foundation for Exceptional Abilities and Talents, which the non-profit "FEAT Stiftung / Foundation" founded under civil law on Friday, May 20, 2016, with its headquarters in Germany. Its public purpose is to promote science and research within the meaning of Section 52 of the German Tax Code. At the same time, "FEAT" also stands as a postulate of the FEAT Foundation's mission, since "FEAT" translates from English into German as "act of strength", "high performance", or "great deed". So far, so good.
The cooperation partners of FEAT Foundation belong to FEAT Group in such a way, that they implement the scientific-research designs in practice and then gradually bring them to market – supported by FEAT Universiteam. One of their innovations is ©SILANAT, the new energy source based on silicon (from sand) and nitrogen (from the air). The working title is »Mera Fonte«. Society’s existential hardships have given rise to the need for this measure. In this context, some of the new technologies scientifically developed by
FEAT are detailed below:
Additionally, we’re talking here about the conversion of plastic waste into low-emission diesel alternative fuel, as well as a Neutron transmutation conversion formula to de-hazard nuclear waste and, in our case, a new fuel made of Silicon and Nitrogen, which burns completely CO2-free for the first time: ©SILANAT. The budget for the latter research project SILANAT came from a fund set up specifically for this purpose by private investors who have made it their responsible task to make SILANAT available to the market. The investors have already been in direct cooperation with the founder and director of the FEAT Group for a long time. They have understood the need for a new, climate-friendly, and environmentally friendly energy source, just as well as the manufacturability and, above all, the applicability of ©SILANAT.
Preamble to ©SILANAT:
A note upfront: ©SILANAT is a new fuel based on silicon and nitrogen. Its name explains this in three ways:
SILANe (according to UPAC rules, a group of chemical compounds made from a silicon matrix and hydrogen) + AT, standing for alternative fuel (GER: Alternativ-Treibstoff),
2. Si for silicon, N for Nitrogen, and lastly
3. NAT for NATure friendly!
©SILANAT completely CO2--free. It is therefore of economic interest as well as of ecological relevance. Finally, the ever-dwindling oil sources around the world are giving this new fuel even more is also much cheaper to produce than fossil fuels. Its efficiency is significantly higher than the latter. It is burned weight. And the fact that it is also environment and climate friendly makes this innovation almost obligatory!
During we follow this project description, it is first important to above all emphasize, in addition to the manufacturability, the multi-layered applicability of ©SILANAT, namely that it is not only possible but also industrially and socio-economically correct and important to produce this new fuel in large quantities and to be able to use it safely. After all, silanes are self-igniting in air if they are not long-chained enough, which leads to the indispensable basic requirement for ©SILANAT to make higher silanes safe to handle. Fragments of know-how on this have been available since the 1980s but have now been completed for the first time by FEAT and are finally ready for research presentation. Using and implementing the completed know-how was the first and most important task of this research project.
So far, only the gaseous mono-/disilane, which spontaneously ignites in air, has been used. Thus ©SILANAT can be unquestionably classified as a world innovation, especially since the goal of this research project is a liquid = higher silane (SinH2n+2) that is safe to handle, industrially versatile, climate/environmentally friendly, as well as cheaper and above all a highly efficient alternative fuel (>90% efficiency compared to fossil fuels with approx. 30% efficiency). After all, it has now been proven (mainly thanks to FEAT) that silanes do not become more unstable the longer their chains are (as has generally been assumed and taught up to now), but that they become more stable the higher their quality.
The following work was needed to initiate the ©SILANAT research project:
1) Construction of a pilot plant to produce silanes (SinH2n+2).
2) Production of alkali silicide (e.g., from potassium and silicon).
3) Reaction of alkali silicide with saltpeter or similar in the pilot plant and thus also the production of a silane mixture.
4) Analytical investigation with specially built gas chromatographs.
5) Distillation of the silane mixture in a specially designed distillation system.
6) Application research of finished ©SILANAT on Wankel engines and the like.
7) Provision of ©SILANAT in the form of pure silanes and/or silane mixtures to already interested companies from FEAT Group’s business environment; the latter in turn offers collaborations for joint development research in its own company portfolio as follows:
Testing the applicability of ©SILANAT for locomotive, ship, and car engines, but as an energy source for urban power plants, as well as for factories and energy-dependent infrastructure...
Industrial further development of ©SILANAT as an energy source substitute for hydrogen or natural hydrocarbons.
Production of ultra-pure silicon layers for the semiconductor industry.
Targeted production of crystals for nanotechnology applications.
Usability of the ©SILANAT "waste product” Si3N4 as a diamond substitute for the milling industry or similar.
Development of new, industrially usable substances with a silicon skeleton instead of the previously used carbon skeletons.
After the first ©SILANAT quantities were available, the basics for the construction of a large-scale plant has been worked out, which also includes, above all, the variation of the process conditions: raw materials, temperatures, reaction times, waste evaluation and recycling, drying, and cooling systems, dosing systems, automation, etc. (including the associated analytics).
The marketing of manufactured ©SILANAT was carried out exclusively to the customers earmarked by the investors for a contractual relationship with FEAT Group. This is and was additionally and especially important, since quite soon after ©SILANAT production has taken place, requests from all over the world for ©SILANAT samples reached us, which made contractual customer loyalty with the investors even more necessary (if only for reasons of know-how protection). Under no circumstances may ©SILANAT be handed over without all these conditions for this having been previously set in contracts. Research in the semiconductor industry (USA and Japan) are highly interested in getting hold of such substances to secure their markets through patent applications.
Great caution is and will ever be required here, as this industry is primarily known for its copy-cat mentality. If you consider that the largest manufacturer of monosilane SiH4, in the USA alone produces approx. 10,000 tons of this raw material to produce high-purity silicon layers, it is understandable why contractual protection for ©SILANAT (higher silanes: Si3H8, Si4H10, Si5H12 etc.) should be insisted on here. To avoid undesirable competitive activities, all inquiries from interested companies for collaboration concerning ©SILANAT are made via the joint office of FEAT Group and the investors. Both keep a protective hand over this project to ward off any danger of an unwanted loss of know-how.
In the following you can see the sequence in the production and recycling of ©SILANAT:
Construction of a pilot plant in FEAT's own factory hall together with the above-mentioned distillation plant,
Facility equipment, employee selection and recruitment,
Office equipment etc.
Test production of ©SILANAT (50 hectoliters).
Test production of ©SILANAT (5,000 hectoliters)
Test application of ©SILANAT in Wankel engine or similar.
Gradually approaching suitable research companies from FEAT’s company portfolio for the purpose of industrial SILANAT use research.
As a basis for Nr. 7, corresponding contracts are drawn up equally by lawyers at FEAT Group and by the investors, so that all rights are guaranteed.
Research and development phase at contractually bound FEAT partners for the purpose of supplying them with ©SILANAT from the pilot plant.
Planning and construction of an 1,000,000 hl- plant (granting of licenses).
Review for better understanding:
As early as 1968, 3.50 liters of liquid silane petrol/oil was able to be obtained for the first time as an isomer mixture from the chain length Si3H8 to Si10H22 in a 50-liter glass flask (in which 100 kg of magnesium silicide was subjected to Stock decomposition in portions in hot phosphoric acid) with the help of a semi-industrial plant at the Inorganic Institute of the University of Cologne.
These "crude silanes" were then subjected to vacuum distillation in a fractionation column (analogous to an oil refinery). Previously, higher, liquid silanes were prepared using a pyrolytic method from existing liquid tri- and tetrasilanes, then separated by gas chromatography and thus for the first time (thanks to a laboratory accident) refuted the assumption that long-chain silanes with more than 4 silicon atoms were unstable. Today the existence of stable synthetic gasolines... has been proven, whereby silicon rather than carbon determines the chain length.
A university assistant in Cologne discovered the secret of silanes in an almost deadly test explosion for the time, without immediately publishing his findings – understandably! In 1980/81, Dr. Helmut Baier carried out acidic decompositions once more in the same institute with a 20-liter flask and was thus able to develop improved methods to produce silanes. A little later, what was the only silane institute in the world to date, was closed at the University of Cologne. ©SILANAT fell into a coma. Now, with the help of FEAT Group and its investors, it is being revived and made ready for the market.
In 1999, another invention was confirmed by laboratory tests at Wacker AG in Burghausen, namely that etched silicon burns violently in combination with cold nitrogen, which unraveled the mystery of silanes insofar as pumpable ©SILANAT can also burn the ≈ 80 % "atmospheric nitrogen”. Nevertheless, this further research has not yet been able to access the market.
In 2004, Dr. Baier decided to develop a semi-technical silane machine with a 500-liter glass flask, which led to the physicist Dr. Bernhard Hidding, at the University of the Federal Armed Forces, Aerospace (Thermodynamics) department, to be able to prove the advantages of silanes over hydrocarbons again in his diploma thesis. Again, an attempt was made to build on this, this time by Dr. Kornat at the University of Dortmund (Department of Inorganic Chemistry) who developed a method by which pure pentasilane (cyclo-S5H10) can be isolated for research purposes to obtain thermodynamic data. …
However, all these findings fell on deaf ears until 2016, which is why this innovation has so far remained closed to the market and thus also to mankind – and our environment. In 2016, FEAT scientists took up this challenge again and, during their completed research work, they were also able to answer the question of why this innovation had not yet found market access: The research findings/results so far have simply been inadequate and sometimes incorrect, so it is to be welcomed that this technology remained closed to the market until 2016. Because the silane research carried out by FEAT scientists firstly ensured that manufacturability related to one aspect of research (which, of course, was already able to be proven earlier), while applicability related to another, whereby the sources of error (which have since been corrected by FEAT) in the event of an – incorrect – ©SILANAT insertion could have led to catastrophic consequences.
Back to today:
In view of the dwindling sources of oil worldwide, the increasing scarcity of raw materials for conventional energy supply, as well as the environmental and climate pollution caused by the latter, the time could hardly be more opportune to finally launch ©SILANAT. Undoubtedly, it was not only helpful or even necessary to wait for more than a half century to make the first step in bringing ©SILANAT to market maturity, since on the one hand our society was not yet ready for such a discovery, and on the other the bitter, but all the more valuable time now allowed for the necessary maturation of this innovation, especially as far as the highly complex detailed work was concerned. In other words: Just a single minor mistake in this project could potentially have led to catastrophe or at least to the end of ©SILANAT. In conclusion, it can be stated that hardly any project has ever been better prepared than this one – in every respect:
©SILANAT, a new fuel made from sand (silicon dioxide) and nitrogen; a fuel that burns with air (≈ 20% oxygen and ≈ 80% nitrogen) and produces no CO2. This is important, not least also with regard to all piston combustion engines or jet engines used today, whose CO2 emissions significantly heat up the nitrogen in the air and thus cause global warming, whereas ©SILANAT cools down those huge amounts of heated nitrogen in the air thanks to nitrogen combustion, which at the same time essentially increases the efficiency of ©SILANAT in that a large part of the combustion energy is not given off (lost) to the atmosphere in the form of thermal energy, which is harmful to the climate/environment, but is used for motorization. One draws the nevertheless limping comparison: LED vs. burning hot light bulb!
Research stage objective:
With the above-mentioned acidic decomposition of alkali metal silicide, the yield of liquid crude silanes is less than 10%, because the main product is gaseous monosilane with about 75% SiH4 and 15% disilane Si2H6. These gases, which are valuable today, were still dismissed as "useless" in 1970, because at that time nobody suspected that they would very soon be indispensable to produce solar cells.
Today, several million tons of monosilane have been produced annually for a long time, but not using the Stock method, since this is considered dangerous and due to a lack of specialist knowledge, there was no interest in higher silanes. This is now changing, because the investors understood and recognized this and therefore decided to finance this project.
Initially, we created a sample quantity of 50 hectoliters of liquid crude silanes in 10 x 10 hl semi-industrial glass + steel decomposition plant to then measure them in the FEAT laboratory. The resulting 5,000 tons of gaseous silanes (monosilane and disilane) must ever be separated from each other and pressed into steel cylinders. At the same time, a 10,000-hectoliter stainless steel plant are designed and built to produce tons of crude silanes. This creates the unique opportunity to use ©SILANAT for tests on engines and air-circulating engines. Nitrogen has never been considered as an "oxidizer" before because it was widely believed to be inert. But ©SILANAT closes this knowledge gap.
In the subsequent large-scale synthesis, correspondingly high profits are expected from the sale of liquid silanes, since the solar cell industry could produce much faster and, above all, more cost-effectively and on a larger scale based on liquid silanes.
1. Production facility
1a. Acid semi-industrial glass + steel decomposition plant:
©SILANAT laboratory with high-vacuum equipment and glass technology to examine the crude silanes “gas-chromatographically”.
FEAT factory floor with supply lines for hydrogen, nitrogen, argon, waste lines and exhaust devices, etc...
10 acid decomposition plants, each with a 10-hl glass and steel reactor (decomposition flask), including devices for suppressing foaming provided by suitable sprinkler, water separation and dry tower systems.
Condensing units in series with automated cooling systems for -20°, -80° and -200°C.
Pumps for high vacuum technology, gas flushing systems for hydrogen, and pure nitrogen.
Computer-controlled security technology.
Automated separation of gaseous + liquid crude silanes (SiH4 & Si2H6 | Si3H8 to Si8H18).
High-pressure pump systems for filling steel cylinders for gaseous silanes.
Tanks for liquefied gases in the ton range for the cooling of the condensation traps.
1b. Acid semi-industrial stainless-steel plant:
In order to compensate for the downtimes of the first plants due to cleaning, filling, malfunctions, etc., stainless-steel reactors with a capacity of more than 10,000 hl each are operated simultaneously. In the past, silane apparatuses were only made of glass because it has the advantage that the dreaded “foaming over” in the reaction flask can be observed from all sides, while the cooling and freezing of the various silane fractions remains visible. Since new large-scale plants are made of stainless-steel, it was necessary to work with this material already in the pilot project. This required special viewing windows and a plethora of electronic surveillance systems. Due to the high level of danger, these experiments were personnel-intensive from the beginning and require, at least in the initiation phase, conversion, or retrofitting. And since the steel reactor was already working properly from the second phase, the production of crude silanes starts on a ton scale.
1c. Production requirements, material, and raw materials:
To be able to produce crude silanes, large amounts of alkali silicide and saltpeter are required, among other things. Alkali silicide can, for example, be melted from Mg and Si under an argon atmosphere. Around 50 ton of alkali silicide and 100 tons of nitrate derivatives are required to produce 10,000 hectoliters of crude silane. Liquid nitrogen and a silicone defoamer are also needed. The alkali silicide is made by FEAT's own foundry. This foundry handles the smashing of the molten metal compounds and grinds the material down to a specified grain size.
1d. Pyrolysis plant:
Steel-based pipe system, catalysts, high-vacuum distillation system with fractionating column, vacuum and safety technology. This equipment enables higher silanes that are no longer spontaneously combustible to be synthesized for measurement experiments:
2. Formation of crystalline silicon from oil sand/shale:
Since the raw material silicon is now very expensive due to the use of electric power, a laboratory-scale process is used in which the content of oil/bitumen/tar as hydrocarbons provides the primary energy, to directly produce crystalline silicon via a new method by FEAT. Here, hydrogen and halogens are used, which burn on contact to form HX. By way of a trick, the heat released in the process is used to split the CnHm and SiO2 bonds in the sand. The silicon tetrahalides produced in this way are converted directly into crystalline silicon using special light metal granules. This procedure is documented in a specially equipped FEAT laboratory. And since hydrogen halide is formed here, it would be toxic and therefore dangerous if it escaped from the experimental apparatus, which is why two rotating metal vessels, lined on the inside in such a way that the hydrogen halide does not attack the material of the vessels, must ever be used accordingly. And to prepare for a large-scale, industrial procedure, the construction of a correspondingly semi-industrial and mostly IT-supported plant is indispensable.
3. Pressure syntheses for the synthesis of higher silanes:
Just as it is possible to obtain gasoline from coal + hydrogen catalytically via pressure synthesis (Bergius process), “higher” silanes are also obtained from silicon and gaseous silanes. The test reactions in an autoclave (steel pressure vessel) are carried out by chemists in the FEAT ©SILANAT factory. Of course, this is clearly a stroke of chemical genius because the gaseous silanes will then not have to be sold, rather the yield of higher silanes will be multiplied by a factor. Notwithstanding this, in preliminary tests of the pressure synthesis, it was particularly necessary to find suitable catalysts. (E.g., Prof. Ziegler, who later won the Nobel Prize, tested over 100,000 catalysts in the synthesis of polyethylene for plastic bags i.a.). Be that as it may, the FEAT scientists are currently the only chemists worldwide who can produce ©SILANAT. Since essential safety systems have been installed, the company ©SILANAT is no longer life-threatening. Nevertheless (or precisely for that reason), the FEAT scientists / chemists have a correspondingly high level of responsibility, especially about safety precautions. To do this, the FEAT corporation in Germany (www.research-assets.com) and the FEAT corporations abroad (www.feat-corp.com) work together with the FEAT Foundation (www.research-science.com), as well as with the international scientific research members of the FEAT Universiteam (www.feat-board.com).
©SILANAT is an exclusivity venture in the best non-profit sense of the FEAT Group, since the associated objectives correspond to the promotion of excellence in research and science, the criteria of which also and include the manufacturability and the applicability of a climate / environmentally friendly and, above all, cheaper fuel. We are talking about a "world innovation and obligation" in equal measure, which is of considerable relevance in view of global environmental/climate – and health pollution, which is sometimes particularly due to conventional fuels, especially since ©SILANAT is the first ever fuel to burn – ad absolutum – CO2-free. Further usages associated with ©SILANAT such as e.g., the "S3N4" produced during ©SILANAT combustion as a cheaper and easier or faster to process "diamond
substitute" for the respective branches of industry underline the common benefit linked to the project in a variety of ways. Finally, it should be emphasized that the FEAT Group has taken up this challenge in 2016. In the meantime, both the economic dimensions and the scientific competences of FEAT have increased essentially, so that we can continue the ©SILANAT project from back then with new and greater strengths and finally help the Energy Supply Policy to achieve the responsibility in the world that it has deserved for a long time.