Towards a more sustainable Alumina production in Europe

Virtual Clustering Workshop (September 23rd-24th, 2021)

Alumina is essential in the aluminium production value chain. Approximately 2 tonnes of alumina are indeed needed for producing 1 tonne of primary aluminium. Alumina is a key raw material produced worldwide and at European level. Globally, about 134 Mt of alumina is produced (IAI, 2021), of which about 6 Mt is produced in EU-27, i.e., approximately 5% of the global production (European Aluminium, 2021). In addition to this domestic production, approximately 2.5 Mt of alumina need to be imported to support 4 Mt primary aluminium production in Europe.

This two-day workshop presented the main outcomes from the relevant on-going EU H2020 projects addressing the upstream part of the aluminium value chain.

On one side, this workshop presented how bauxite residue can be valorised, e.g.

  • via the various processing routes addressed under the EU RemovAL project.
  • via specific valorisation concept in the cement industry as considered under the ReActiv project.
  • via the benefits of extracting Scandium and other valuable REE and metals as addressed in the SCALE project and relevant projects (REEBAUX and RIS-RESTORE).

On the other hand, potential alternative alumina production routes presented, as studied by the EU AlSiCal & ENSUREAL projects. Additionally, the concept of industrial symbiosis was further investigated from a business model perspective as addressed in CORALIS or from synergies with the silicon value chain as studied in SisAL or from skills need perspective as covered in SAIS-SPIRE.

The main objectives of this workshop were to promote exchange and cross-fertilisation between those EU projects and the industry to foster new synergies. The ultimate goal was to identify the most promising processing routes to boost the industrial symbiosis and turn bauxite residue into a resource or produce alumina from alternative sources.

The workshop was articulated between several plenary sessions where the various project outcomes were presented. A Q&A exchange followed all sessions in combination with networking break-out and coffee break sessions, where participants were invited to pursue the discussion with speakers and each other in a user-friendly virtual area.

The Workshop was freely accessible, and the deadline for registration was 17 September.

Only registered participants had access to the workshop.

23 SEP


09:30 – 10:45

Session 1: Setting the scene

Welcome by Gerd Götz, European Aluminium; Efthymios Balomenos, RemovAL coordinator & Philippe Benard, Reactiv coordinator

Chair: Luc Demange, Rio Tinto

  • KEYNOTE SPEECH: European Raw Materials Alliance: a key enabler to a decarbonised and circular Europe, Bernd Schäfer, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director EITRawMaterials
  • Long term sustainability of the aluminium industry and the role of technology,
    Pernelle Nunez, International Aluminium Institute
  • Europe at the forefront of innovative alumina processing, Christian Leroy &
    Konstantinos Kollias
    , European Aluminium

10:45 – 11:15

networking COFFEE BREAK

11:15 – 12:45

Session 2: Focus on the RemovAL processing routes for Bauxite Residues

Chair: Stephan Beaulieu, Aughinish

  • RemovAL presentation: The multi-processing routes concept for Bauxite Residue valorisation, Efthymios Balomenos, Mytilineos
  • Pilot scale demonstration of RemovAL bauxite residue valorisation: An ecosystem analysis, Lisa O’Donoghue, University of Limerick (UL)
  • Circular economy and Life Cycle impacts of valorisation pathways for Bauxite Residue, Johan Berg Pettersen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 

12:45 – 13:15

Networking Break-out session

13:15 – 14:15

Lunch Break

14:15 – 16:00

Session 3: Extracting Rare Earth Elements (REE) and other elements from alumina value chain

Chair: Dimitrios Panias, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

  • Ga extraction from Spent Bayer Liquor (RemovAL), Bengi Yagmurlu, MEAB Chemie Technik GmbH
  • Production of Scandium compounds from BR (SCALE), Efthymios Balomenos, Mytilineos
  • REE recovery from bauxite and bauxite residue in the Eastern and South-Eastern European region (REEBAUX), Nenad Tomašić, University of Zagreb-Faculty of Science (UNIZG-PMF)  
  • Reprocessing of red mud tailings in the Eastern and South-Eastern European region with emphasis on extraction of REE, Sc, Y, Hf, Zr, and Ti (RIS-RESTORE), Mateja Košir,  Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute (ZAG)

16:00 – 16:30

Networking Break-out session

16:30 – 17:15

Session 4: Future project opportunities & debrief of day I

Chair: Ken Evans, International Aluminium Institute

  • Horizon Europe & EIT raw materials: What are the main opportunities for the aluminium value chain?, Christian Leroy, European Aluminium
  • Debrief and main conclusions of Day 1 by the chairs

24 SEP


09:00 – 10:30

Session 5: Industrial symbiosis and circularity

Chair: Philippe Meyer, Novelis

  • KEYNOTE SPEECH: Hubs for Circularity: Opportunities for the aluminium industry, Jürgen Tiedje, Head of Unit – Industrial Transformation, DG Research, European Commission
  • Waste recovery from the aluminum sector via industrial symbiosis (CORALIS), Alexandros Altsitsiadis, White Research, Marco Fontanella, Raffmetal
  • Valorisation of secondary Al sources for the production of Al-Si alloys and high purity alumina (SisAL), Gabriella Tranell, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

10:30 – 11:00

Networking Virtual Coffee Break + Break-out session

11:00 – 12:30

Session 6: Focus on ReActiv & alternative production route for alumina

Chair: Carlos Rodriguez Gago, Alcoa

  • ReActiv presentation: Challenges and research programme proposal, Philippe Benard, LafargeHolcim
  • The Pros and Cons of the improved Pedersen Process (ENSUREAL), Casper Van der Eijk, SINTEF
  • Radical innovation towards sustainable co-production of minerals (AlSiCal), Asuncion Aranda, Institute for Energy Technology (IFE)

12:30 – 13:00

Networking Break-out session

13:00 – 14:00

Lunch Break

14:00 – 15:45

Session 7: Sustainability in Process industry and closure

Chair: Anastasios Kladis, AdMiRIS

  • Policy and Stakeholder analysis, George Tentes, Green2Sustain
  • (Near) zero waste processing: lessons learned from several EU projects, Liesbeth Horckmans, Vito
  • Skills Alliance for industrial symbiosis: A cross-sectoral blueprint for a sustainable process industry (SAIS-SPIRE), Clara Behrend, TU Dortmund
  • Main conclusions of Day 2 by chairs

Closure by Efthymios Balomenos, Mytilineos & Gerd Götz, European Aluminium