Carbon Negative Magnesium Metal Production Using a Cyclic Batch High Temperature Condenser

ARPA-E Project Image

Special Projects
Project Term:
07/01/2021 - 06/30/2023

Critical Need:

This topic seeks to support entrepreneurial energy discoveries, by identifying and supporting disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies within small businesses and collaborations with universities and national labs. These projects have the potential for large-scale impact, and if successful could create new paradigms in energy technology with the potential to achieve significant reductions in U.S. energy consumption, energy-related imports, or energy-related emissions. These specific projects address technology areas across ARPA-E’s mission spaces, with particular focus on: Advanced bioreactors; Approaches and tools to create enhanced geothermal systems; Non-evaporative dehydration and drying technologies; Approaches to significantly enhance the rate and/or potential scale of carbon mineralization; Separation of CO2 from ambient air (direct air capture); High-rate separation of dissolved inorganic carbon from the ocean to produce a CO2 stream; Advanced trees and other engineered biological systems for carbon sequestration; Innovative deep ocean collector designs for mining polymetallic nodules; Environmental sensors capable of operation in deep ocean environments for mining polymetallic nodules; and Non-carbothermic smelting technologies. Awards under this topic are working to support research and establish potential new areas for technology development, while providing ARPA-E with information that could lead to new focused funding programs. The focus of these projects is to support exploratory research to establish viability, proof-of-concept demonstration for new energy technology, and/or modeling and simulation efforts to guide development for new energy technologies.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Big Blue Technologies (BBT) proposes the world’s most efficient method to produce magnesium (Mg), a light metal with a high energy and carbon footprint whose demand is increasing due to its application in vehicle and aircraft light-weighting and portable electronics. BBT will demonstrate a continuous production system with best-in-class material and energy efficiency by extracting crude Mg from ore in a 50-kW electric arc furnace and purifying it using a dual high-temperature condenser. If successful and scaled, BBT will produce Mg at the globally competitive cost of <$2/kg, reduce total process energy consumption (<15 kWh/kg), and establish a path for net-zero process emissions, providing a cleaner, cheaper, domestic source of this critical metal.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Douglas Wicks
Project Contact:
Dr. Boris Chubukov
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:

Related Projects

Release Date: