Refractory products are a vital element in all high-temperature processes and represent a substantial global market. Reuse of refractory material has a high potential to reduce waste production and primary raw material consumption. To allow high-grade recycling and reuse of refractories, efficient separation of the different types of refractory materials based on their chemical composition, combined with an efficient removal of impurities, is essential. The aim of the ReFraSort project is to develop a new separation technology that enables automated sorting of coarse refractory material into pure material fractions under industrial conditions. The project will initially focus on the identification and sorting of 3 types of refractories and progress to up to 8 types of refractories used in the steel industry. Compared to the state-of-the-art, several challenges must be overcome. First of all, a reliable sensor for inline identification of refractory material in an industrial environment needs to be developed. In the project, the emerging LIBS (Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) technology will be developed to the requirements of automated refractory sorting, in combination with other identification and material pre-treatment techniques. The sensors will be integrated with an automated sorting equipment for coarse, heavy particles that is able to sort up to 8 material types. To ensure that the developed technology is adapted to the needs of the refractory producing and recycling industry, and to maximize its valorisation potential, clear boundary conditions such as quality criteria for separation, economic feasibility and environmental impact will be defined. Validation and evaluation of the technology will be done by integration and demonstration of the innovative sorting technology. The industrial application potential will be proven on industrial scale by the production and assessment of refractory material with a significant content of secondary raw material.
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Funding SchemeCP - Collaborative project (generic)