Project

OBJECTIVES

  • Identify detailed characteristics and establish a conditioning procedure for each raw material to maximise the biorecovery process
  • Remove the main interfering components (IC) present in bauxite residue (BR) to concentrate rare earth elements (REEs) and increase their accessibility whil minimising their loss
  • Obtain selective immobilised biosorbents based on siderophore-producing bacteria and purified siderophores for extracting REEs
  • Develop a flexible and modular biorecovery process able to treat primary and secondary sources
  • Define the optimal combination of processes of the BIORECOVER solution
  • Ensure the best health, safety and risk performance
  • Define the quality requirements of the metals recovered and develop downstream processes
  • Valorise residual streams while minimising water consumption and wastewater generation
  • Contribute to climate change mitigation through the acquisitiong of processes with lower energy consumption and implementation of circular economy models

IMPLEMENTATION

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CHARACTERISATION AND CONDITIONING OF RAW MATERIALS
WP1 will characterise the primary and secondary raw materials to define the physical properties, particle size, mineralogical properties, etc. This work package will also determine the concentration in CRMs as well as other interfering components (ICs) which will influence the subsequent stages of the biorecovery process in collaboration with WP2, WP3 and WP5. Additionally, WP1 will conduct research and development of different conditioning treatments to facilitate the subsequent steps.
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PRE-TREATMENT TO REMOVE UNINTERESTING MATERIAL
WP2 will obtain indigenous bacteria with genetic metal resistance isolated from the unconditioned raw materials to remove interfering compounds with high selectivity, improving the cost-efficiency of the process. This work package will also test other exogenous biocatalysts and develop, calibrate and validate models describing the pre-treatment of each raw material. The pre-treated raw materials will be used in the bioleaching assays in WP3.
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TREATMENT FOR MOBILISATION OF INTERESTING CRM
WP3 will carry out the mobilisation of a wide range of CRMs present in the pre-treated and untreated solids by specific microorganisms and consortia to determine the effectiveness of pre-treatment. Indigenous microorganisms and consortia will also be isolated from the raw materials to improve performance and cost-efficiency, while other exogenous microorganisms will be tested. This work package will produce the bioleachates that will be used in WP4.
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R&D OF DIFFERENT STRATEGIES FOR METAL RECOVERY
This work package will deal with recovering the target CRMs with high recovery, selectivity and purity rates. Five different recovery approaches—reusable polymeric microcapsules, microalgal biosorption, bacterial-based biosorption, fungal-based biorecovery and protein-based biosorption—will be researched and developed within this work package, and the best process will be established. A focus will be placed on optimising the best technologies to achieve high performance and to improve efficiency.
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OVERALL PROCESS INTEGRATION, OPTIMISATION AND VALIDATION
WP5 will focus on defining the optimal combination of processes of the BIORECOVER solution to recover the target CRMs with high recovery, selectivity and purity rates and determine the quality of the recovered metals to meet the metal requirements defined by the end users in WP6. In addition, this work package will optimise and validate the BIORECOVER process and decision-making framework taking into consideration technical, environmental, economic, health and safety issues.
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VALIDATION OF METALS RECOVERED ON THE RAW MATERIAL VALUE CHAIN
This work package will be tasked with defining the initial requirements for the target CRMs, testing the quality of the CRMs recovered in WP4 and WP5 to develop brake pads, oxygen sensors, high-quality magnesium, salts and sponges for catalysis. WP6 will also study downstream processes to purify and/or modify the recovered CRMs, depending on the characteristics required, to achieve the commercial requirements.
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SUSTAINABILITY, SOCIAL, HEALTH, SAFETY & ECONOMIC ASPECTS
WP7 will aim to develop strategies for the valorisation of the generated residual streams. An interactive life cycle assessment will be conducted to reduce the generation of waste, wastewater and emissions of the operations involved in the BIORECOVER process. In addition, a social impact assessment will be carried out to define the social consequences of the BIORECOVER process and to improve public awareness of the relevant stakeholders and general public.
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EXPLOITATION, DISSEMINATION AND COMMUNICATION STRATEGY
This work package will focus on carrying out communication, dissemination and exploitation activities for the BIORECOVER innovations to support and accelerate their market uptake. More specifically, WP8 will develop and implement and communication and dissemination plan, coordinate participation in events and publications, establish relationships with other related projects, develop and strategic plan to exploit the results generated and conduct two impact studies on the BIORECOVER project.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT
WP9 will coordinate and manage the project and the efficient, timely execution of all planned project activities as well as the overall legal, contractual, financial and administrative management of the consortium, revise and maintain the project work plan, ensure communication between project partners, create and monitor a stakeholder and scientific advisory panel to guarantee the quality of the proposal and take into account the opinion of relevant stakeholders.

IMPACT

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Generate know-how through patents &publications

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Increase process selectivity broader range & higher recovery rates of vauable raw materials

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Increase economic performance

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Improve the competitiveness

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Improve health, safety & environmental performance of operations