07 / 02 / 2023

PROJECT HARITZA. Research for the Recovery of Complex Waste in the Metallurgical Sector

The HARITZA project (Oak, Quercus robur in Latin, sturdy, with strength and perseverance) aims to persist in the research for the recovery of complex waste in the metallurgical sector.

Given their properties, metals can be recycled almost infinitely. Therefore, the metal recycling value chain in the EU and particularly in the Basque Country contributes to reducing dependence on imported materials and ensures the supply for the manufacturing and maintenance of basic infrastructures (construction, communication, transportation, etc.).

In this scenario, the foundry industry plays a crucial role in the recycling of metallic materials. Scrap from the end of the life cycle of steel, iron, aluminum, or copper components can be melted down and transformed into new products through foundry processes.

But this industry is not without a significant environmental impact, as, to recycle metal, companies in this sector generate waste and emissions that need to be captured, recycled, and valorized. Millions of tons of waste are discussed every year that must be disposed of with the use of means and high costs.

According to the data collected by the Basque Statistical Yearbook 2020 prepared by EUSTAT, 27% (929,434 tons) of non-hazardous waste generated in the Basque Country in 2017 came from the Thermal Processing Industry. Of these, 48% are recycled or reused, and 52% (482,909 tons) are disposed of in landfills.

The metallurgical industry faces three challenges to achieve the goals outlined in the 2030 agenda. Circular economy is a vital part of a smart industry. Therefore, the recovery of various types of complex waste from the metallurgical industry that allows inertization and reuse in the plant itself or in other industrial solutions is sought, aiming for economic viability with a reuse rate exceeding 90%.

Considering both solid, liquid, and gaseous waste, all are considered for recovery. Some of these solids are recovered or treated for use, but many are dumped, such as foundry sands, slag, chips, and scale with many oils. The CHALLENGE is to economically recover, with zero-carbon emission technologies related to the complex residual materials of the metallurgical industry, allowing them to be reused in the plant itself or inertized for use in other industries. An example is inertizing scale and slag for use as raw materials in foundries and steelworks or for new refractory products in low-temperature furnaces.

IRURENA aims to reuse these wastes as raw materials in its formulations for additive manufacturing for subsequent use in foundries.

“Action co-financed by the Basque Government and the EU through the European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020 (ERDF).”

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