ABx Group, with an 83% ownership stake in subsidiary ALCORE, achieves a groundbreaking milestone in aluminium waste processing at its ALCORE Technology Centre on the NSW Central Coast.
ABx Group, a major player in the industry with an 83% stake in ALCORE, its subsidiary, reports a significant breakthrough in aluminium waste processing. The company has made substantial progress at its ALCORE Technology Centre, situated on the NSW Central Coast, particularly in the development of its cutting-edge bath pilot batch reactor designed for fluorine recovery from aluminium smelter waste.
The state-of-the-art reactor, approximately ten times larger than its predecessor, has successfully undergone three test runs under standard process conditions. Each run processes around 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of bath and sulfuric acid. Following initial runs and minor equipment adjustments, the reactor’s performance has shown notable improvements, achieving enhanced process mixing and successfully producing hydrogen fluoride gas during the test runs.
In the latest test, the reactor produced several kilograms of metal sulfate powder, a noteworthy achievement as over 90% of the fluorine was extracted in earlier manual methods. This success indicates that the new reactor has the potential to deliver higher fluorine yield in a single pass, marking a critical milestone in the ALCORE process’s scale-up.
Samples of the powder produced during the test runs are undergoing fluorine content assessment at an external laboratory, with results expected in January 2024. These independent analyses will confirm fluorine yield and provide further insights into the reactor’s efficiency.
Dr. Mark Cooksey, Managing Director and CEO of ABx Group, expressed optimism about the technological advancements and their implications for commercial operations. He highlighted the importance of process and equipment validation, emphasizing the ability to efficiently scale up the world-first process to commercial operation.
The upcoming assay results in January will provide greater certainty regarding project progress. Dr. Cooksey concluded with enthusiasm for the accelerated activities at ALCORE and the anticipation of additional reactor runs, each offering valuable insights for the next phase of development – the continuous pilot plant.
This breakthrough positions ABx Group and ALCORE at the forefront of innovative solutions in the industry, marking a substantial advancement in aluminium smelter waste processing.