Integral refractory waste management – LIFE 5REFRACT

LIFE 5REFRACT aims at applying a "5R" (reduce, reuse, remanufacture, recycle, re-educate) approach within the European steel sector to reach an integral valorisation of refractory materials.

The client

LIFE Programme – European Union

Our role

2.-0 LCA consultants are responsible for performing an LCA study of different waste management alternatives for refractory waste produced at the SIDENOR steel mill in Bizkaia, Spain. LIFE 5REFRACT is a 27-month duration project, starting in July 2018.

Integrated valorization of refractory waste under a “5R” approach

Refractories are ceramic materials used to protect equipment in industries working at high temperatures. They contain compounds like aluminium silicates, magnesium, dolomite, chromite, zirconium, carbides, nitrides and oxides. Steel production is the main user of these materials, consuming around 70% of their total production. About 4 million tonnes of refractories are produced in Europe, representing  11% of world production. Most of the raw materials involved are considered as Critical Raw Materials by the EU but, surprisingly, only 7% of the raw material volume arises from recycled sources globally. In the European steel sector, recycling and valorisation of refractory materials is most often sporadic. LIFE 5REFRACT aims at applying a “5R” (reduce, reuse, remanufacture, recycle, re-educate) approach within the steel sector to reach an integral valorisation of refractory materials. The project will constitute the first industrial and systematic demonstration experience dealing with refractory waste in the European steel sector. Specific aims of the project include, among others, recovering up to 80% of refractory waste, developing recycled refractory products and establishing guidelines for the European steel sector to adopt these strategies.