Incinerator bottom ash is a product created by incineration and waste-to-energy facilities. It’s mostly ash from the materials being incinerated as well as some material that did not fully combust. After incineration, the ash mixture weighs about 70% less than the original feed and takes up 90% less space. With such a drastic reduction in its physical size, most people would assume that the incinerator bottom ash is just sent to a landfill. However, this product has many uses when it’s recycled properly.
Recovering Metals From Incinerator Bottom Ash
Precious and heavy metals like gold can be effectively recovered from incinerator bottom ash. Our modern electronics contain a treasure trove of metals and valuable resources. Unfortunately, these products are often disposed of improperly. Much of this “waste” is sent straight to landfills or incineration facilities that do not take advantage of incinerator bottom ash recovery.
For some perspective on how much valuable material we lose to landfills, let’s examine gold. In 2016, 311 metric tons of gold were lost to landfills from our electronics alone. That’s equivalent to 10% of the gold produced globally that year and is equivalent to $14 billion worth of reusable material!
It’s not just gold that can be recovered from incinerator bottom ash. Platinum group metals including palladium, along with silver, copper, nickel, titanium, and ferrous metals like stainless steel and carbon steel can all be found within, and recovered from incinerator bottom ash.
Once recovered, these metals can be sold directly to metal refiners for processing and can be used similarly to their new metal counterparts. Your current electronics, jewellery, or pipes might even contain metals recovered from incinerator bottom ash. This helps promote what’s known as the circular economy.
Incinerator Bottom Ash In Construction
After the metals have been recovered and recycled, the remaining ash material can be used in the construction industry. Since extracting aggregates from quarries is a very energy-intensive and costly process, infrastructure projects use as many recycled materials as possible. It’s common to use incinerator bottom ash as bulk fill, but it can also be used as an ingredient in asphalt, concrete, cinder blocks, and other cement-bound materials depending on the bottom ash composition and local regulations.
Sepro’s Fine Slag Treatment Plant
The solution to incinerator bottom ash recovery is our Fine Slag Treatment Plant (FSTP). Using a combination of screening equipment, gravity concentrators, and magnetic separators, we are able to produce two valuable products: a ferrous metal concentrate as well as a copper and precious metal concentrate. These concentrates can be sold directly to recyclers and metal refiners at a profit while leaving a cleaner final ash material that can often be used in higher value construction applications.
The FSTP can easily be integrated into incineration facilities due to its small footprint requirements high level of automation. For more information on incinerator bottom ash recovery and our Fine Slag Treatment Plant, contact Sepro Urban Mining today.