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Towards sustainable mineral and metal industry: ZERO Bauxite Residue and ZERO CO2 from co-production of Alumina, Silica and precipitated Calcium carbonate by the Aranda-Mastin technology

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - AlSiCal (Towards sustainable mineral and metal industry: ZERO Bauxite Residue and ZERO CO2 from co-production of Alumina, Silica and precipitated Calcium carbonate by the Aranda-Mastin technology)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-08-31

AlSiCal is an ambitious Research and Innovation project to make the mineral and metal industry more sustainable and environmentally sound. The project will develop and de-risk a groundbreaking process. This technology enables the co-production of three essential raw materials (alumina, silica and precipitated calcium carbonate), using new resources - e.g. anorthosite, abundantly available worldwide - whilst generating ZERO Bauxite Residue and ZERO CO2. Today´s production of these raw materials can become more environmentally friendly: they are obtained through traditional processes that generate considerable CO2 emissions, and bauxite residue in the case of alumina production from bauxite by the Bayer process.

AlSiCal will research and develop the innovative technology that allows:
• Green co-production of 3 essential raw materials, in a single process and from one source, with synergetic environmental and economic benefits.
• Efficient use of anorthosite, a mineral abundant in Europe and worldwide • Integrated CO2 use and capture for ZERO CO2 emissions from production.
• ZERO Bauxite Residue generation from alumina production.
AlSiCal´s kick off was held in September 2019, setting a very good start for the project. In our project website, already live, you can learn about the Consortium and sign up for the Newsletters to get the latest updates on our work progress.
The experimental setups were tailor-designed and built, and became cutting-edge facilities in hydrometallurgy and CO2 utilization innovation for more sustainable industry. The AlSiCal technology has large potential to expand towards varied materials sources besides anorthosite. Therefore, besides different anorthosite qualities, alternative sources have been screened for the first process step by our experts. The first experimental campaign at bigger scale has been successfully performed, where the team validated laboratory results for anorthosite dissolution and silica production at pilot scale. The alumina production step has also been optimized at laboratory scale. The two first products (silica and alumina) are currently being assessed by our industrial partners to determine their market potential. Our modelling teams (both at reactor and process level) and LCA analysts are gathering all necessary data from the optimal process, for determining the best process configuration for future industrialization. In addition, we are aware of the impact of this technology, for which we dedicate special efforts on keeping informed stakeholders, collaborating organizations and society.
AlSiCal will de-risk and develop (from TRL 3-4 to TRL 4-5) the AM technology under sustainability and efficiency principles. It will assess and quantify the: techno-economic feasibility, potential value creation for Europe, Life Cycle Analysis, impact and risks of this technology upon the key sustainability pillars: economy, society and environment. AlSiCal will be performed by a balanced team of R&D and industrial partners representing the whole value chain. AlSiCal will set a roadmap for exploitation of the project results, to foster the later commercialization of the technology. Targeted dissemination and communication actions will contribute to increasing social and industrial engagement for developing innovative sustainable technologies for mineral processing.
Project Consortium Delegates at the kick off meeting of AlSiCal (IFE, Kjeller. September 2019)