Each ton of aluminium produced in Al smelters generates approx. 20kg of hazardous waste, which is a mix of the carbon lining and the refractory lining, known as "spent pot lining" (SPL). Worldwide aluminium production in 2016 was approximately 59 million tonnes, corresponding to the generation of 1.18 million of tonnes of SPL. The current practice of the waste management of hazardous SPL is landfilling or incineration, which costs aluminium producers on average 200 EUR/tonne (240 million EUR annually on a global level).
The project presents a novel zero waste technology, developed by and with external partners from EIT RIS eligible countries for the recycling of spent pot lining (SPL) from aluminium production, consisting of four main separation processes (preparation, extraction, flotation, and refining) in order to achieve the quality of products needed by end-users. The final products will be used either in aluminium production (recovered carbon and fluoride slats) or will be sold to the refractory industry or the construction industry (recycled refractory residues), with a special focus on the industry in RIS countries, on the one had to help them to solve their particular problems, on the other hand to foster their international competitiveness.
A pilot demonstration of the operability of the system will be constructed. Additionally a reliable business model will be developed enabling the next steps to commercialization. This will enable to better positioning of the aluminium industry in EIT RIS eligible countries on worldwide market as well as increase the innovation capacity of EIT RIS countries in general.
The innovative technology itself and the new sustainable approach, originating from EIT RIS region of SEE Europe, will therefore represent a new circular economy business model for aluminium producers around the world with the complete elimination of waste deposition and incineration costs.