ESD-SIC manufactures silicon carbide (SiC) from the raw materials sand and petroleum coke. Sand and coke are mixed in the correct proportions to create a reactive material. From this mix, a material pile, i.e. a furnace, is built (about 3500 tonnes). In the centre of this furnace is a core of graphite, which serves as an electric conductor. The furnace is covered with a plastic film to capture the gases forming during the production process, to desulphurise them and to reuse them for energy production.
The graphite core is connected to a transformer and a voltage is applied. Due to the electric resistance, the core of the furnace reaches a temperature of about 2500oC. At this temperature, the sand and coke decompose, and crystalline SiC is formed. This intense heating of the furnace requires large amounts of electricity, so that this is a very energy-intensive process.
Silicon carbide is a substance which is used among others as a grating and grinding agent, as a heat-resistant material in applications including soot filters for diesel engines, and as an additive to cast iron.