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Loss-minimised metal recycling from waste incineration ashes via sensor-based sorting


2015 until 2017


by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research
Funding code 033R081A/B/C/D/E/F/G

Research partners
Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH, Bonn
MAV – Mineralstoff-Aufbereitung und Verwertung GmbH, Krefeld
pbo Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Aachen
RWTH Aachen University, Institute for Treatment and Recycling (I.A.R.)
RWTH Aachen University, Institute and Chair of Metallurgical Process Engineering and Metal Recycling (IME)
Steinert Elektromagnetbau GmbH, Cologne
Umicore AG & Co. KG, Hanau-Wolfgang

Task and implementation

As part of the VeMRec research project, we investigated solutions for loss-minimised recovery of non-ferrous metals* from bottom ash together with our research partners. An optimised metal separation combined with sensor-supported sorting of the metal scrap mixture should increase the recovery rate. Among other things, an impact crusher, screening machines and X-ray sorting were used.

In the first step, the impurities of the non-ferrous metal products* resulting from adhesions and fusions were analysed. Based on this analysis, a test plant was designed that enables material-specific sorting according to density. It was set up on an industrial scale with the aim of producing directly smeltable non-ferrous metals or aluminium. Finally, the resource and energy efficiency of non-ferrous metals was evaluated and their recovery potential in already deposited bottom ash was estimated.


  1. Evaluation and optimisation of the existing bottom ash treatment plant
  2. Mechanical processing of non-ferrous metals on a pilot plant scale
  3. Advice on the design of a pilot-scale test facility
  4. Mechanical processing of non-ferrous metals in a pilot plant
  5. Assessment of resources and energy efficiency
  6. Estimation of the recovery potential of non-ferrous metals from deposited bottom ash

*Non-ferrous metals

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