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Aluminium Foundries Circularity via Holistic Zeolite Production for Effluents Depuration

The main goal of the Z-ONA4LIFE project is to show, on a pilot scale, that making synthetic Z-ONA zeolite is a practical and cost-effective technology.
This process helps make better use of aluminium waste and Si-rich waste, making aluminium foundries more circular.
The project aims to create a nearly waste-free process by recovering valuable by-products and recycling the process water.

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Chosen for its global industry relevance, aluminium salt slag, requires treatment before disposal due to its hazardous nature and limited recovery options. Si-rich wastes also lack definitive recovery methods, presenting management challenges.

Z-ONA zeolite from aluminium slag offers a promising solution without complex systems. Scaling up at a pilot plant level is critical for industrial implementation, while the near zero-waste process allows valuable by-product recovery.

Z-ONA zeolite treats polluted effluents in different scenarios: gas flow cleaning, challenged wastewater depuration from waste treatment plant, livestock slurry treatment, and mining wastewater depollution. Moreover, to achieve near zero-waste, spent zeolite enhance composting, and gases produced are recovered for commercial purposes.

Z-ONA4LIFE aims for realistic implementation of innovative technology at a marketable scale. It does so by demonstrating scalable Z-ONA zeolite manufacturing on a pilot scale. Z-ONA4LIFE implements an effective dissemination strategy to ensure project results exploitation, wide replication and reliable sustainability plan.

Z-ONA4LIFE: Advancing the Circular Aluminium Foundries Concept

Circular economy is an economic model that aims to minimise waste, optimise resources, and promote continuous reuse and recycling, creating a sustainable and regenerative system.
Z-ONA4LIFE is based on this model to develop innovative technologies and sustainable practices to efficiently utilise and repurpose aluminium salt slag, promoting circularity in the aluminium industry.
Curious to know how we can achieve that? Unveil the steps to make aluminium foundries circular!

Advancing the Circular Aluminium Salt Slag Concept
Pre-treatment of aluminium salt slag and and Si-rich waste

Stage 1: Pre-treatment of aluminium salt slag and and Si-rich waste

Salt slag and silicon waste are mechanical/physical treated. Besides, salt slag is hydrolysed to recover salt (brine) and gases

Stage 2: Manufacture of Z-ONA zeolite

Stage 2: Manufacture of Z-ONA zeolite

The manufacture of Z-ONA zeolite at pilot scale, is performed into a close reactor, in which the hydrolysed slag and silicon waste react in an alkaline medium.

Stage 3:  Brine treatment & Recovery of subproducts

Stage 3: Brine treatment & Recovery of subproducts

This phase aims to model a conceptual design of the process for the cornerstone chemicals recovery from brine, such as CaCl2 and Na2CO3, widely used in various chemical industries.

Stage 4:Application of Z-ONA zeolite for effluent depuration

Stage 4:Application of Z-ONA zeolite for effluent depuration

To explore different uses of Z-ONA zeolite in treating challenged effluents from a Waste Treatment Centre, a demo plant is implemented. Moreover, the Z-ONA zeolite is used for the depollution of gas streams and wastewaters in real scenarios.

Stage 5: Recovery of spent zeolite for composting of organic waste

Stage 5: Recovery of spent zeolite for composting of organic waste

Spent Z-ONA zeolite (after use for wastewater depuration) is recovered to improve a composting process of organic waste to produce soil amendment and constructed soil.


Technical & Social impacts

  • Developing circular systems, in line with the new Circular Economy Action Plan.
  • Encouraging the sharing of best practices to promote a more circular aluminium industry.
  • Raising awareness among EU citizens about the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Z-ONA solution for resource recovery from industrial waste.
  • Showcasing successful implementations of market-ready solutions to encourage replication and adoption.

Aluminium Pile
Environmental impact

Environmental impact

  • Enhancing waste management through better waste collection, storage, recovery options, and end-of-life disposal practices.
  • Promoting resource reduction and facilitating the shift to a sustainable, circular, toxic-free, energy-efficient, and climate-resilient economy.
  • Reducing emissions of pollutants to air.
  • Protecting the quality of soil, preventing its degradation.