After performing successful prototype tests in 2017 and early 2018 the project had some delay in taking the next steps of scaling up to demonstration scale. Due to the the complexity of the technology and the project it was decided to scale up to the demonstration phase into two different phases. The recovery of the metals is split-up into two demonstration:
- During a first demonstration phase (June 2019 – March 2020) the focus will be on the recovery of zinc by leaching it from the metallic concentrates from bottom ash and converting it into a zinc derivative product.
- The second demonstration phase (Q4 2021 – Q1 2022) will demonstrate the full process where zinc as well as copper will be able to recover.
During the first demonstration phase the consortium will also introduce an extra pre-concentrating step where copper/zinc mixtures are split into a copper rich flow and a zinc concentrated flow. This zinc concentrated flow will be the input for the phase 1 demonstration.
With the introduction of this “pre-concentrating” of zinc the consortium is focusing more on zinc recovery. Looking at the recycling of metals one can conclude that the recycling of zinc is lagging behind compared base metals like iron, aluminum and copper. The “Phase 1” LIFE PCR demonstration opens up a new market for zinc recycling from (fine) waste-to-energy bottom ash flows and potentially also other recycling markets.
The beneficiaries implemented the following notice board for the PCR project. The Notice Board is placed at Petroleumweg 32-D, Vondelingenplaat, and is visible for public.
The goal of the PCR demonstration project is to contribute to the application of community environmental policy and legislation by demonstrating a first full scale application. Both the technical and economic feasibility of operating the innovative Elemetal Copper Recovery (ECR) process will be assessed by performing a prototype first, followed by scaling up do demonstration scale. The LIFE program is specifically aimed at funding these actions. The PCR project focusses on maximizing recycling and reuse of copper and zinc which would otherwise not be recovered from Waste-to-Energy bottom-ashes and would in most cases be landfilled or used for constructing purposes. In that respect, the PCR project connects to at least two goals set out in the Roadmap for a Resource-Efficient Europe and the 7th EAP. Besides this, the project also matches perfectly with the LIFE “waste” legislation priority project.
The PCR demonstration project is aimed at demonstrating and evaluating the innovative ECR technique on a large scale, by treatment of the WtE bottom-ash in the most environmental friendly and economic efficient way. Combined with the modular design of the installation, the ECR process is equipped for future scale up of the technology to attain any desired scale and enhance the EU wide replicability and development of supporting environmental policy and legislation. Objectives for this demonstration project are:
- Demonstrating optimal beneficiation of WtE bottom-ash by (wet) physical separation technologies
- Running a prototype setup to scale-up leaching of the beneficiated metal concentrate efficiently and to show the recovery of zinc
- Demonstrating efficient leaching of the beneficiated bottom ash
- Demonstrating copper and zinc recovery rate of the large scale ECR process
- Demonstrating copper quality of the large scale ECR process
- Demonstrating chemicals and reagents use during processing
- Demonstrating equal or better applicability/reuse of leached bottom-ashes as compared to non-leached bottom-ashes.
The PCR project will be an important European showcase for recovering copper and zinc from waste streams. By demonstrating the innovative method, the findings of this project can therefore help to shape the development of environmental policy of the EU community by demonstrating what is technically possible (best practices) and what kind of reductions in environmental impact, carbon footprint and resource efficiency are realistically attainable.