Objectives of the commitment
The Bauxite Residues (red mud) are a red slurry consisting of the un-dissolved portion of the bauxite ore, produced on a dry-basis at an almost 1:1 mass ratio with alumina, amassing to a total of 100 to 120 million tones per year globally. BR consists for the most part of Fe and Al oxides, while in lesser or trace amount oxides of Si, Ca, Na, Ti, V and REE (such as Sc, Ce and others). Till this day BR are not exploited but rather stored in artificial ponds and landfills. Therefore stockpiled and annually produced BR can be considered an important low grade resource for extracting critical metals like REEs, metals with high economic importance for Europe like Ti, V as well as base metals like Al and Fe. The goal of the Mud2Metal consortium will be to develop innovative and sustainable technologies for the recovery of the important metallic values found in the BR.
Description of the activities
The Mud2Metal consortium will seek to develop both the fundamental knowledge and the applied technology for recovery of metals from the BR. Fundamental knowledge production into the interactions of the metal oxides in the BR and their potential separation methods will be pursued through industrially sponsored PhD programs with collaborating university departments. Applied technologies will be developed through focused RTD projects aiming at:
â¢ Removing the iron content (44% to 48%wt) of the BR through microwave roasting for partially reducing the hematite oxides into magnetite oxides, and followed by a dry or wet magnetic separation step. Such a technology will not only achieve the recovery of iron oxides from the BR but will also reduce significantly the volume of the BR, enriching practically the content of all other metal oxides and facilitating their easier recovery. The use of microwaves as a heating source has already been proven effective in this system and will allow to greatly minimize the energy and the capital cost of a BR roasting procedure, which conventionally takes place in large metallurgical reactors (i.e. rotary kilns).
â¢ Achieving the hydrometallurgical separation of REE oxides from the BR through the use of mineral acids or through the use of Ionic Liquids (ILs). Ionic liquids (ILs) are novel âcustom-tailoredâ solvents for the sustainable extraction and separation of metal ions. Their ability to solubilise a variety of non-ferrous metal oxides and hydroxides at low temperatures makes ILs attractive and âgreenâ alternatives to the traditional aqueous electrolytes used in hydrometallurgical processes which are associated with large volumes of effluent production and require intense processing conditions (elevated temperatures and pressures). The use of ILs as REE leaching agents for REE ore concentrates is already being tested under the FP7 EURARE project.
â¢ Achieving the hydrometallurgical separation of other valuable metal oxides from BR with mineral acids or ILs. Namely the extraction of the oxides of Al (app. 20%wt), Ti (app. 5-6%wt) and V (app 0.5%wt) will be researched as all of these are of high economic value.
Based on the currently available knowledge the overall Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the intended research is estimated between 4-6.
Description of the expected impacts
The Mud2Metal consortium will seek to develop a cascade of innovative processes which will allow the exploitation of the BR by-product in a manner which will maximize the overall resource efficiency of the initial bauxite ore and minimize the environmental footprint of the Bayer process. Namely:
â¢ Separate recovery of economically important BR metal oxides amassing to more than 70% of its total weight on a dry basis.
â¢ Significant reduction of the final by-product volume from the primary alumina refining industry to be handled, alleviating financial and environmental burdens for the industry and the society.
â¢ Production of critical raw materials (REE) from a low grade ore, through innovative technologies
â¢ Almost complete exploitation of the initial bauxite ore mined and used in the primary alumina refining industry.
â¢ Maintaining and enhancing knowledge and technological excellence of the metallurgical RTD in Europe.
â¢ Creation of new jobs and training of young engineers in technological excellence.
Coordinating organisation & role
Name of the coordinating organisation: ALUMINIUM S.ACountry: GreeceEntity profile: Private sector - large companyRole within the commitment:
The Alouminion of Greece (AoG) will be the coordinator and center of the Mud2Metal consortium, since AoG produces each year approxiamately 700,00 tonnes of BR (currently filter-pressed and stored in landfills). AoG will provide know-how, expertise and raw material to facilitate all RTD activities while all technologies developed in the consortium will be pilot tested in the AoG plant.
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: Yes
Period to implement the commitment: from 01-01-2014 to 31-12-2020