The Urbangold Technology for Enhancing Metals Recovery and Efficiency in WEEE Recycling

Additonal authors: Haslinger, T.. Book title: Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019. Chapter: . Chapter title:

Proceedings, Vol. Proceedings of the 58th Conference of Metallurgists Hosting Copper 2019, 2019

Konetschnik, S.

UrbanGold and its partners from Mettop and SMS group have developed a novel technology for the recovery of valuables from all non-ferrous metals’ fractions of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), with a special focus on low qualities which are commonly landfilled or incinerated. The technology is marketed under the brand name “UrbanGold Flex” to illustrate the high flexibility in respect of plant design and raw material portfolio, allowing also the processing of low grade material and materials with high caloric values. The process of the technology’s centrepiece, a modified and enhanced bath smelting furnace called “HENRI”, was investigated in numerous pyrometallurgical trials as basis for a scale-up towards a capacity of up to 100,000 tons of WEEE-concentrates per year. All relevant facility components have been evaluated in respect of references, fall-back options, as well as exit strategies (alternatives) to minimize risks when establishing a novel technology. A spin-off within the development is the “UrbanGold Compact” technology which can be seen as optimization of state-of-the-art smelters by using an optimized TBRC as primary processing unit. As an UrbanGold Compact plant will be the first industrial scale reference of UrbanGold’s technologies, it is also explained in the publication. As precious metals recovery is of major (economical) importance when recycling WEEE, major attention has been given to minimize the losses of these valuables. These measures, as well as a sophisticated way of utilizing waste heat as far as possible, result in interesting business cases with gross profits of up to 20% or even more. INTRODUCTION Over the past years, the demand of electrical and electronic equipment has increased dramatically with technological progress. Innovations on the technology of electronic devices led to a shorter usage and lifespan and thus boosted the generation of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). WEEE is one of the fastest growing waste streams, growing at 3 to 4% per year worldwide and is expected to reach more than 52 million tons per year by 2021. Currently, about 45 Mt of these wastes are estimated to arise worldwide, and the trend is rising (Baldé et al., 2017).
Keywords: Copper 2019, COM2019