The first facility in Europe designed to recycle aeronautical-grade titanium has been inaugurated in a bid to reduce the region’s dependence on importing the metal, and to make titanium-ingot production more environmentally friendly.
The facility is located near Clermont-Ferrand, France. Dubbed EcoTitanium, the €48 million ($57 million) project has been strongly supported by public institutions. The first shareholder in the company is UKAD, a 50-50 joint venture between French metallurgy specialist Aubert & Duval and Kazakhstani titanium-sponge producer UKTMP. It owns a 43.5% stake in the company. The second shareholder is France’s environment and energy-management agency ADEME, which holds 41.3%. The European Investment Bank granted it a €30 million loan.
The plant will ramp up its production of titanium ingots to “several thousand tons” per year. The promoters of the project emphasize the independence it will give from American and Russian suppliers. EcoTitanium says it will use four times less energy than the conventional supply chain.