The expected impacts of WhISPER
WhISPER project demonstrates the technical viability of the atomization technology for the nonferrous industry through its implementation as a pilot in an industry-relevant environment. Direct beneficiaries are the copper slag producers in Europe and the steel sector in which the technology is already implemented at industrial scale. Furthermore, the new technology answers specific needs:
- in terms of efficiency of the pyrometallurgical process in the copper sector
- in terms of output cost and quality for future use in the building sector.
The technology tested in WhISPER corresponds to a major innovation in the copper sector. The new process is considered as an Eco-innovation in the non-ferrous metal industry. Its implementation provides evidence-based recommendations for a new standard in the non-ferrous metal industry Best Available techniques REFerence document (BREF). Atlantic Copper is part of the industry representatives for the BREF. The WhISPER project is also linked with the Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) – Sustainable construction and raw materials – so interesting synergies can emerge from this connexion. The consortium closely collaborates with application-driven, crosscutting regional innovation schemes (RIS) to offer access to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in pan-European facilities.
Other project results, such as the knowledge gained on the atomization process for non-ferrous metals by the research centres, will increase the European technical expertise on this process and its implementation will uncover possible uses of iron silicate. Moreover, the insights gained through WhISPER can be transferred to other non-ferrous industries and markets in which the properties and uses of iron silicate would be of possible interest.
The WhISPER project benefits the environment on two different aspects: (i) it contributes to circular economy by extending the lifetime of copper slags and it improves the resource efficiency of copper processing. (ii) This project reduces the carbon footprint and water consumption of the non-ferrous sector and enables energy recovery with the atomization technology.
Within the WhISPER project, an environmental life cycle analysis (LCA) of the whole process will be performed to communicate on the environmental and sustainability performance of this innovation.
The WhISPER project aims at improving the competitiveness of EU on resource efficiency by creating new jobs in processing equipment manufacturing and downstream industries through gained know-how (planned patents, publications in high impact journals and joint public-private publications).
In addition, the replacement of the water-based granulation process results in avoided steam-related explosions and related safety risks.
Education and others
Finally, this innovative process will be showcased as a relevant case study for academic training. Master students from the University of Bordeaux will visit the pilot process plant in Huelva (January 2020) and gain knowledge in the frame of the AMIR master program (Advanced Materials Innovative Recycling). Training materials (e.g. lecture content) on life cycle costing & environmental life cycle assessment will be released at the end of the project.
WhISPER will also benefit the KIC community at large, in Matchmaking & Net-working, Validation & Acceleration, Learning & Education and Business & Support themes.