New research project addresses utilisation of by-products of waste incineration

plant Leudelange
Sustainability and environmental protection are important topics that have now found their way into a wide variety of industries. A rethink has taken place, also in the waste recycling industry.

For example, energy can now be obtained from the heat generated during the incineration of the waste. But what about the by-products that waste incineration plants produce by recycling the waste?

With the amendment of the 17th Ordinance to the Federal Immission Control Act, important steps have already been taken to reduce emissions at the federal level. By interposing filter systems, it is possible to reduce the emission of environmentally harmful residual substances that are produced when the waste is incinerated. The filtered-out products, like dust, are a problem - until now.

Researchers at TU Bergakademie Freiberg and EEW Energy from Waste GmbH have now launched a project that is also intended to give new life to residual materials that previously could not be reused. To this end, the company invested a high six-figure sum.

Since October 1, 2021, research has been carried out under the title "EEW utilization of dust (VerSt): Rapid scale-up to the zero-waste process" to find out how the dust remaining after incineration can also be integrated into the company's circular economy in the future. With INEMET (Institute for Non-Ferrous Metallurgy and High-Purity Materials) and IKFVW (Institute for Ceramics, Refractories and Composites), the company has enlisted the support of two institutes of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg as partners. The aim is to upgrade the existing waste within the waste management system and make it sustainable in three steps.

During the first step, the exact composition of the flue dust is to be researched in order to be able to develop strategies on how the individual components can be utilized in the future. First of all, disturbing elements must be removed from the dust so that it can then be examined in the second step with regard to its chemical and mineralogical composition before it can finally be determined how the dust can become part of the circular economy. The research aims to repurpose all the residual materials contained in the dust so that the entire waste incineration process becomes sustainable in the future - fully in line with the zero-waste concept.

This would reduce a major part of the 270,000 metric tons of fly ash which are produced annually in the 17 waste incineration plants of the company. If the 3-year project succeeds, this would make waste incineration even more sustainable in the future and help to further advance the circular economy.

Fragen beantwortet / Contact: 
Prof. Thomas Bier, Prof. Alexandros Charitos