Objectives of the commitment
1) Develop innovative PR processing route, which allows for the recovery of associated trace elements at high degree of purity, production of high-purity phosphoric acid, and valorization of waste by-products;
2) develop innovative PG waste treatment techniques that yield safe, marketable gypsum and recovery of value-added trace elements at high degree of purity. The studied methods will be advanced from TRL3 to TRL6;
3) achieve objectives and targets of the EIP on RMs by:
-innovative, integrated and flexible processing and bio-hydrometallurgical systems to recover âneglectedâ resource (i.e. REEs);
-sustainable supply of CRMs to the European economy, thereby improving supply conditions and diversifying sources;
-technological advancement that will move Europe to the forefront in mineral processing;
-reducing environmental and health impacts by zero-waste approach.
Description of the activities
The central themes of the activity aim the development of new integrated metallurgical methods for PR and PG processing that recover additional CRMs, valorizes all products and by-products, towards zero-waste production. The scale-up of the processes will be realized at pilot scale, to illustrate the commercial potential of the developed approaches. Activities, technical methodologies and approaches have been divided in six steps:
Chemical-mineralogical characterization of PR and PG samples collected from the various study sites, and sample collection for the metallurgical test to be conducted in the following steps.
The proposed method produces high purity PA, no waste and provide an added value for the recovery of other CRMs. The flow-sheet will illustrates a general structure demonstrated at the laboratory scale (TRL3); activities will integrate new steps and scale up the process to the small pilot level (TRL5), involving new techniques for magnetic separation, new hydrometallurgical processes, and the use of new techniques for the recovery of high purity metals. These may include metals (e.g., Ni, Cu, Zn, Fe, Al, Sb, V and toxic metals, e.g., Cd, As, and Cr) thus preventing their accumulation in the final PA-based fertilizer.
The proposed method aims to eliminate the environmental hazard of PG waste by extracting polluting radioactive elements (e.g., U), toxic metals (e.g., Cd), and strategically valuable CRMs (e.g., REEs), with the final goal of near zero-waste. The final product is a purified gypsum or calcite (which can be marketed for numerous building or construction purposes) and the mentioned accessory elements; both products will add high value to the process chain and make it economically viable. Work in InPhosphoChlor will integrate an innovative purification step and will scale up the process to the small pilot level (TRL5).
This step will not only provide a purer and easily marketable end by-product (e.g., gypsum) but will also recover useful metals (e.g., Ni, Cu, Zn, Sb, Mn, Fe, V) and toxic metals that could harm the environment (e.g., Cd, Cr, As).
Beneficiation pilot plant already existing will be utilized to meet the objectives. The plant has the potential to conduct various mineral processing operations such as crushing, grinding, gravity concentration, high and low intensity magnetic separations and froth flotation, and also involves a high standard process automatic control system. The concentrates produced by the previous pilot plant will be submitted to hydrochloric acid leaching pilot testing based on the flow sheet and parameters optimised in the step 2. The overall recovery of phosphorus oxide, as well as the trace valuable elements such as REEs, U and Th, will be improved. Results will feed into the LCA and economic feasibility studies in the subsequent Step 5.
Hydrometallurgical pilot plant will be built for the PG testing. The pilot will be sufficiently flexible to allow for incorporation of any design developments, due to its modular design and programmable control. The parameters tested in step 3, will be studied in a continuous run. The overall recoveries of purified gypsum, as well as of trace valuable elements such as REEs, U and Th, will be improved. Results will feed into the LCA and economic feasibility studies in the successive step 5.
Environmental monitoring, LCA, market studies, by-product characterization, social impact.
TRL will be advanced to TRL6.
Description of the expected impacts
1) Advance the EU to the forefront in the area of sustainable exploration, and mining and processing technologies and solutions by developing and applying innovative, efficient, economically and environmentally sustainable processes, easy to adopt by EU companies;
2) improve competitiveness and targeting creation of added value and new jobs in materials producing and downstream industries by developing new methods that will provide a valuable EU source of REEs for downstream industries, by further advancing EU industries adopting the new processes;
3) unlock a substantial volume of various raw materials within the EU enabling the better efficiency of exploitation of raw materialsâ resources and increasing the range and yields of recovered raw materials. Industrial implementation of proposed methodology will recover large quantity of REEs, U and valuable elements in the EU;
4) enable the better efficiency of exploitation of raw materialsâ resources; the proposed additional extraction of trace REEs/CRMs would thus increase the efficiency of the process, as these strategic elements would not be lost but rather CRMs would be recovered without additional up-stream costs;
5) improve economic viability and investment security. The proposed linking of the process chain with other high-value commodities including REEs, as well as bulk commodities, will result in greater economic viability and long-term stability;
6) increase process efficiency and reduce environmental footprint. The proposed PR method will not emit any gypsum, REEs, heavy metals or radioactive elements, aiming for zero-waste. Reduction of cooling water consumption, process water and electricity consumption are also foreseen. Valorisation of PG waste will also greatly reduce the environmental footprint.
Coordinating organisation & role
Name of the coordinating organisation: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)Country: ItalyEntity profile: Governmental/public bodyRole within the commitment:
Coordination and Management. The operating unit of the CNR within the proposed activity will be the "Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering" (IEGG).
Its main role will be the extraction and purification of CRMs such as REEs and valuable metals at high-degree of purity, applying innovative processes, especially those electrowinning.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur FÃ¶rderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V.
Name of the organisation: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur FÃ¶rderung der Angewandten Forschung e.V. Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Fraunhofer will lead the CFRP and GFRP recycling research.
Fraunhofer will perform corrosion tests on the developed materials.
Fraunhofer will work with CIDAUT on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project. Fraunhofer is the Quality Manager of the Consortium and will oversee deliverables and general reporting are produced with the best possible quality following agreed review standards.
Name of the organisation: Fundacion Cidaut Country: Spain Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: CIDAUT will lead the research activities on materials recycling and compounding, implementing lab scale demonstrators of each process at its premises and, later, supporting end-users upscale the processes.
CIDAUT will perform mechanical tests, microstructural analyses, injection moulding capability studies on the developed materails, and will work with Fraunhofer on the implementation, validation and refinement of LCCA tools for the project.
RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV)
Name of the organisation: RWTH Aachen University (Institute of plastic processing (IKV) Country: Germany Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: RWTH will implement the novel 3D Generative Preforming process (3D Fibre Spraying) that enables to create high-value long fibre-reinforced 3D preforms for thermoplastic and thermoset composites at low process costs (different kinds of yarn as a raw material, low tooling costs due to low cavity pressures). This cost effective technology allows to align the sprayed fibres in order to produce high-performance, engineered anisotropic products.
Universita' di Cagliari
Name of the organisation: Universita' di Cagliari Country: Italy Entity profile:
Role within the commitment: University of Cagliari is one of the leading European organization in the resin design and coupling with thermoplastic and thermose materials. University of Cagliari will support in the definition of the composite materials, both from CFRP/GFRP, ABS and Rare Earth composite material.
Name of the organisation: Relight Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: RELIGHT will work with ITRB to provide the research partners with residues for the recycled ABS supply and the REE recovery processes, including their HydroWEEE process as part of the processes to be studied and analyzed.
Name of the organisation: Piaggio Aerospace Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - large company
Role within the commitment: Piaggio Aerospace is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Piaggio will assist in the compounds selection, provide Fraunhofer with specific corrosion requirements on business jet size aircraft, and will assess that the developed materials performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.
Name of the organisation: Blackshape Aircrafts Country: Italy Entity profile: Private sector - SME
Role within the commitment: Blackshape Aircrafts is one of the project End Users (Aeronautics Industry): as such it will provide requirements and further applications that could be developed with the Consortium Materials. Blackshape will support to fulfill the requirements of the aeronautics industry on ultra light jet, light jet and trainer for Syllabus, and will assess that the developed alloys performance fits the selected applications desired improvements.
Name of the organisation: KU Leuven Country: Belgium Entity profile: Academia
Role within the commitment: KUL will collaborate on the balance problem studies and will lead the rare earth recovery research with the solvometallurgical and ionometallurgical processes.
KUL will also contribute to the final compounding selection.
KUL is the Dissemination Manager of the project, promoting that all partners are active on the project Dissemination.
Name of the organisation: FIDAMC Country: Spain Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: FIDAMC is going to lead the Work Package on Compression Moulding with CFRP-enhanced materials. As part of the AIRBUS Group, FIDAMC will also be able to provide the input material.
FIDAMC successfully developed a 3D Printer of own design to serve the Aerospace Industry and will be supporting Smart Lab 3D Industries in its 3D printer design.
COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER
Name of the organisation: COMPOSITE INNOVATION CENTER Country: Canada Entity profile: Governmental/public body
Role within the commitment: Composite Innovation Center is one of the world leading organization in the field of Composite materials, both from carbon fiber and vegetal-based fibers.
Composite Innovation center has successfully implemented, at lab-scale, recycling processes for CFRP and GFRP.
Existing EU Contribution: No
Period to implement the commitment: from 01-04-2016 to 31-12-2020