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ENSUREAL - Integrated cross-sectorial approach for environmentally sustainable and resource-efficient alumina production

ENSUREAL - Integrated cross-sectorial approach for environmentally sustainable and resource-efficient alumina production

The goal of the Ensureal EU project, is to ensure zero waste production of alumina in Europe. This will be done by developing a zero-waste process for alumina production that can handle a wider range of bauxite than the existing process. The process will minimise the environmental impact of bauxite mining and alumina production.

Ensureal EU project value chain

Global aluminium metal consumption is expected to grow during the coming years. Aluminium metal is produced through electrolysis from aluminium-oxide, also called alumina. Alumina is produced by the Bayer process from bauxite. The Bayer process has as main drawback that it does not utilise all elements in the bauxite ore and thus produces a lot of waste. This waste is called bauxite residue, or red mud because of its red colour. For every kilo of aluminium metal more than 1 kg of red mud is produced. This waste is usually land-filled in large ponds. The problem with red mud will increase during the coming decades as bauxite qualities gradually contain less aluminium and more of the mined material will end up as waste.

The ENSUREAL project addresses the production of alumina, through the introduction of a new technology (improved Pedersen process) that enhances the process' yield and its energy and environmental performance. The increased costs of processing should be balanced with an increase in revenue from the different products, cheaper bauxite resources and no costs for land-filling.

Moreover, the ENSUREAL's consortium proposes a new value chain that takes into account all the streams as valorisable products across the aluminium supply chain and introduces the foundry and the agricultural sector. More specifically, ENSUREAL brings together the aluminium sector (Aluminium of Greece), the foundry sector (Odlewnie Polskie S.A., Poland), the agricultural sector (Luvena S.A., Poland) and lime producers (CaO Hellas, Greece), in order to demonstrate the new technologies and approaches proposed. The innovative character of the project is brought by major players in R&D, such as SINTEF, NTUA and NTNU. Outotec and SMS group bring outstanding engineering and process expertise. Furthermore, 3 SMEs will help define and optimise the bauxite scenario in Europe (AdMiRIS), develop ENSUREAL's business case (ITRB) and study the upscaling of the process for future commercial prospects (KON Chem).

Project Consortium:

  • SINTEF (Coordinator)
  • MYTILINEOS ANONIMI ETAIRIA - OMILOS EPICHEIRISEON, Greece
  • NORGES TEKNISK-NATURVITENSKAPELIGE UNIVERSITET NTNU, Norway
  • NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS - NTUA, Greece
  • KONLECHNER DAVID, Austria
  • ITRB LTD, Cyprus
  • ADVANCED MINERALS AND RECYCLING INDUSTRIAL SOLUTIONS IKE, Greece
  • CAO HELLAS MAKEDONIKI ASVESTOPOIIA ANONIMI ETAIRIA PARAGOGIS KAI EMPORIAS
  • ASVESTOY KAI LOIPON DOMIKOICHIMIKON ILON, Greece
  • Outotec GmbH, Germany
  • SMS GROUP GMBH, Germany
  • LUVENA SPOLKA AKCYJNA, Poland
  • SPOLKA AKCYJNA ODLEWNIE POLSKIE, Poland
  • WAVESTONE LUXEMBOURG S.A., Luxebnourg

The ENSUREAL project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 SPIRE research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement: No. 767533 

For more information about the project, see https://www.ensureal.com/

Published 03 April 2018
Research Manager

Project duration

01/10/2017 - 30/09/2021