RECOVER’s consortium has a strong track record for the valorisation of both industrial and municipal residue streams. Despite successful cases, addressed by the Consortium, the residues generated in different places throughout Europe have specific characteristics and their valorisation also depends upon the support of the regional eco-system.  For the latter in particular, it would be of great benefit if local companies (i.e. both the residue producers and the building material industry) could witness the transition from residue to product first-hand.  This will allow for technological issues to be tackled, but will also challenge the general perception on residue valorisation and promote awareness and understanding.

In order to facilitate this, a modular and mobile upscaling unit (which would fit in four 20ft containers) is being engineered so that it can be brought on site to produce full scale building materials, starting from fresh residues. This approach will be used in RECOVER to upscale the production of high value-added inorganic polymer products, such as fire resistant tiles and porous blocks from red mud produced by Aughinish as well as Boliden and Metallo copper slag.

 The choice of the partners reflects different levels of slag-ready-for-application: bauxite residue needs to be thermally processed, in order to be comparable with Boliden’s copper slag, whereas Boliden’s copper slag needs minor adjustments for the minor elements, to be comparable to the Metallo slag. The latter is a clean slag, practically free of Zn and Pb, composed of Fe and Si and only minor content of Al and Ca.


The trajectory to the market for Fe-rich residues. Bauxite residue requires thermal processing, whereas Cu slag of today can benefit from minor adjustments in order to deliver a more reactive precursor.  A clean slag is already available and will be used as the closer to the market case study, where the lessons derived will be used by the other industrial partners to design their strategy.

Project Objectives

The general objective of RECOVER is to produce full scale final inorganic polymer products, from Aughinish red mud and Boliden and Metallo copper slag, at the respective companies’ sites, using a modular and mobile upscaling unit.


Schematic of the project concept and related partner roles

The following specific objectives have been set for the Project:


    • Production of final inorganic polymer products from copper slag and red mud in full-size dimensions. 
    • Preparation for market exploitation by verifying the business potential and customer needs for the developed products, and by creating matches with construction industry.
    • Evaluation of the products’ performance and properties (costs, technical performance, environmental quality, durability, fire resistance, thermal stability, thermal conductivity) and comparison with traditional alternatives currently available in the market. 
    • Construction of a small building on-site, with the final products of the project, which will be used both for demonstration purposes as well as for collecting performance data, during and after the project.

    • Creation of a modular and mobile upscaling unit containing all equipment necessary to realize the transition from residue to final product. After its use in the project, the unit will be made available for services to a range of clients: for other upscaling projects and other waste streams, urban or industrial, for offering training to people active in the traditional construction industry, as well as for educating students and the wider society, by operating at remote or unindustrialized regions.