RECOVER addresses the needs of two types of industries. First, the metallurgical industry, which yields large volumes of residues that are sent to landfilling. This is already reflected in certain areas, in terms of the very high cost of landfilling and this in fact provides also an economic incentive to look for alternative outlets, such as products for the construction industry for instance.
By using the proper technologies it is possible to turn these residues into high value-added products. As such, residue valorisation can create a direct economic benefit for the metallurgical industry by creating an extra source of income as well as, safeguard their social license to operate by avoiding landfilling, and at the same time have a huge positive impact on the environmental protection.
A second industry that would certainly profit from residue valorisation is the cement/building materials industry, i.e. in instances in which the companies buy the (conditioned) residues for further processing. The cement industry is currently responsible for over 8% of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Diversifying the range of binders used instead of cement will allow to decrease CO2 emissions, and will promote sustainability.
Contribution to EIT KIC Strategic Objectives
RECOVER is well aligned with the objectives of the EIT KIC, contributing to a circular economy paradigm while safeguarding Europe’s raw materials supply.
The Project is framed within the Lighthouse Programme 1 “Extracting value out of residue stocks” from the KIC Raw MatTERS proposal and is closely linked with the ZeroWaste cluster of Networks of Infrastructure on this matter. It contributes to the engagement with the strategic objectives set in the EIT RawMaterials strategic agenda:
- Closing material loops: by turning residue into products, the materials loop is being closed and industrial ecology is being stimulated. Moreover, the specific innovative approach of the mobile unit can be used to raise awareness amongst industry, students and society, and thus contributes to shifting the mentality from linear to circular thinking.
- Securing raw materials supply: the valorisation of the two industrial residues that exist and are still produced in large quantities in Europe promotes sustainability in raw materials supply, rendering the European construction materials industry resource-efficient and independent from non-renewable raw materials imported or mined in EU. Next to the reduced need for cement, the project is a stimulus to recover even more value out of the residues in the future (e.g. (critical) metals in small amounts), thereby reducing Europe’s related import dependency.