Can Silicon Be Refined from SiO2 without using Carbon?

I know the traditional process of making pure Silicon requires the use of carbon electrodes to transfer the O2 from silicon to the Carbon, and in the process creates massive amounts of CO2. Is there a way to refine silicon from SiO2 without using/producing CO2?

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  • Gary H
    Lv 7
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Of course. All you need is a a different element (a pure metal perhaps) that, thermodynamically, likes oxygen better than Si does. Chemically speaking, you need to create conditions where a chemical reaction takes O away from SiO2 and leaves you with Si and a different oxide. This is exactly what C does.

    You can find information on the heats of formation of different oxides. I expect you will find that C is a very good choice based on practical considerations such as cost, equipment required, etc.

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