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New technological developments to improve the efficiency of metal recovery processes

After 4 years dedicated to the development of technologies to optimize the efficiency and sustainability of aluminum and lead recovery processes, as well as of the steel production process, the REVaMP European project has come to an end.

Recovering alloying elements from components once their service-life has come to an end is a growing need for the European industry, both for supply and sustainability reasons. However, current recycling processes have a high energy consumption level, mainly from fossil sources. Also, their capacity to separate the alloying elements from the metal scrap is very low and therefore, the posterior use of recovered materials in certain applications is very limited.

As explained by AZTERLAN researcher Clara Delgado (specialist in sustainability and environmental solutions for the metallurgical industry), “European industrial metal recycling facilities are mainly working with quite old machinery and equipment. If we want to improve our capacity to recover metals and alloying elements, as well as to increase the environmental and energy efficiency of the recycling process itself, it is necessary to update and to optimize the equipment involved in these operations.” In a growing demand context, in which the variability of scrap and alloys to be recycled is also increasing, “the incorporation of process control tools based on predictive models, the use of sensors that favor the analysis of the composition of metallic scrap or the implementation of advanced systems that allow controlling the load mix and the optimal operation of the furnaces can represent a significant technological leap. This is a necessity for the metal transformation industry, which needs to incorporate secondary metals in their manufacturing processes. However, to achieve that goal, it also needs to ensure the quality and traceability of these materials and secondary alloys.

With this motivation, during 4 years, AZTERLAN has been working within the European REVaMP project, along with the companies REFIAL Refinería de Aluminio S.L. and GHI Hornos Industriales S.L. in improving the aluminum refining process, focusing on the energy efficiency of the process and on ensuring as well the quality of the recycled metal. Thus, on one hand, the research team has worked on demonstrating the feasibility of adding a preheating stage for aluminum scrap to improve the energy performance of the process. For this stage of the process an innovative furnace powered with a fuel derived from waste has been designed, achieving “promising results of 20% savings in the consumption of natural gas”. Likewise, within the project, AZTERLAN has developed a new device to assess the metallurgical quality of aluminum. “As a portable laboratory, the equipment named Alu-Q®, allows to analyze the metallurgical quality of the metal in a liquid state, by simultaneously executing three tests: density test, dross test and thermal analysis”.

Javier Nieves y Clara Delgado en la reunión de cierre de REVaMP

Clara Delgado and Javier Nieves, members of the AZTERLAN team, share some of the final results obtained at the project closing meeting.


Along with the companies and organizations mentioned, the international consortium of the REVaMP project (H2020, grant agreement 869882) has also had the participation of other entities that, organized in different research teams, have focused on the development of technologies for the lead recovery process and the steel production process, through the development of 4 specific demonstrators for these industries. The REVaMP project consortium, launched in 2020, is formed by VDEH-Betriebsforschunginstitut GmbH (coordinator), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angegebandten Forschung E.V. , Sidenor Aceros Especiales S.L., Grupal Art S.L., Exide Technologies S.L, , Arcelormittal Bremen GmbH, Laser Analytical Systems & Automation GmbH, Narodowe Centrum Badan Jadrowych Henryk Zastawny, Fundacio Eurecat, Rheinisch-Westfaelishe Technische Hochschule Aaachen, Fundación Cartif, REFIAL Refinería de Aluminio S.L., GHI Hornos Industriales S.L. and AZTERLAN Metallurgy Research Center.


Representatives of the organizations participating in the REVaMP Project at the project closing meeting.

Representatives of the organizations participating in the REVaMP Project at the project closing meeting.

Azterlan Team
Azterlan Team
RE·Thinking Metallurgy. 40+ años acompañando a la industria metal-mecánica.

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