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.