NAIADE (DemonstratioN of hydrometallurgicAl processes aimed at the recovery of crItical raw mAterials from Different waste streams to boost the transition to a resource efficient Europe as a new opportunity of Economic growth )








FP7-ENV-2013-two-stage: Challenge 6.3 Improving resource efficiency : ENV.2013.6.3-2 Eco innovative demonstration projects- FP7- ENV-2013-two stage




Work Packages (W.P.) Tasks W.P. 0 Management 0.1 Appointment of a steering group, project, work package and task leaders 0.2 Preparation Of the project management document 0.3 Reporting and contacts with EC W.P. 1 Preliminaries 1.1 Characterization of materials/components in order to define the case-studies of interest 1.2 Processes testing on laboratory scale 1.3 Modelling and simulation 1.4 Definition of the Case – studies that will be developed 1.5 Definition of quantitative parameters (availability, size of reference, etc.) W.P. 2 Pilot Plant Design 2.1 General specification of the pilot plant 2.2 Definition of the different sections of the plant 2.3 Equipment data sheet of the different sections 2.4 General lay-out of the pilot plant 2.5 Final design W.P. 3 Pilot Plant build-up 3.1 Land localization and acquisition 3.2 Realization of the infrastructures 3.3 build- up of the dismantling and disassembling section 3.4 Build-up of the pre-processing section 3.5 Build-up of the processing section 3.6 Build-up of the waste and disposal treatment section 3.7 Quality control and support W.P. 4 Start Up of the plant 4.1 Functioning test of the different sections and check of the plant 4.2 Start-up and operation of the different plant's sections 4.3 Start- up and operation of the integrated plant 4.4 Verification and evaluation of the plant operations W.P. 5 General elements of the industrial plan 5.1 Raw materials availability 5.2 Full-scale plant investments and functioning costs 5.3 General trend of critical raw material prizes in the short-medium term W.P. 6 Environmental and socioeconomic assessment 6.1 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) 6.2 Socioeconomic assessment W.P. 7 Exploitation 7.1 Technology Evaluation 7.2 PESTLE Analysis 7.3 Technology Valorisation (roadmap) 7.4 Commercialization W.P. 8 Dissemination 7.5 Stakeholder identification 7.6 Dissemination Plan 7.7 Coordination with other similar FP7 projects 7.8 Conceiving of written materials 7.9 Project website


The supply of raw materials, one of the key challenges facing our society, is increasingly under pressure and needs decisive action as highlighted in different EU strategic policy documents such as the Raw Materials Initiatives, as well as, the Europe 2020 Flagship initiative a "Resource efficient Europe" and the associated Roadmap on Resource Efficiency. The current consumption rates of resources threatens the security of supply, this fact, in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy to ensure smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, has lead the Commission to identify 14 critical raw materials at EU level for future sustainable technologies. Critical raw materials are those which display a particularly high risk of supply shortage in the next 10 years and which are particularly important for the value chain. The supply risk is linked to the concentration of production in a handful of countries and the low political-economic stability of some of the suppliers. This risk is in many cases compounded by low substitutability and low recycling rates. In many cases, a stable supply is important for climate policy objectives and for technological innovation. In order to meet this challenge, the concept of sustainable use of natural resources as opposed to intensive and often inefficient use of resources, must replace previous patterns of growth which have brought increased prosperity, but has made Europe economy heavily dependant on imported raw materials and energy; as the Europe 2020 strategy document underlines: “Continuing our current patterns of resource use is not an option”, it is necessary to decouple resource use from economic growth. With the aim of ensuring an efficient use of resources and prevent wastage of key raw materials, innovation is needed along the entire raw materials value chain. To underline Europe’s potential regarding waste as a resource to be fed back into the economy as a raw material, it has to be noted that of the 2.7 billion tonnes of waste produced every year in Europe, only 40% of the solid fraction is re-used or recycled; particular attention has to be paid to valuable waste such as electrical and electronic equipment waste (WEEE) produced by each citizen in the EU at the rate of 17 kg/year, a figure which is predicted to rise to 24 kg by 2020 (Source IPA); expertise in engineering and processing innovation is needed to develop more efficient recycling/recovering processes able to turn this kind of waste into valuable secondary raw materials according to the “Urban Mining” concept. Furthermore, as stated in the EU above mentioned documents, increasing recycling rates and thus reducing the pressure on demand of primary raw materials, will also help to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission from extraction and processing so that it will contribute to the implementation of EU’s environmental objectives by 2020. In addition, increasing resource efficiency will bring major economic opportunities, improve productivity, drive down costs and boost competitiveness. In the context described, the NAIADE project aims at demonstrating the technical–economical feasibility of a new conception for recovering critical raw materials from different waste streams such as urban wastes (WEEE) and/or other secondary sources such as production waste and e-scrap (metals derived as “by-products” or “coupled products”, mostly from ores of major or “carrier” metals, such as Gallium in Bauxite, main source of Aluminum). Specific targets are therefore: - Close the loop for the most strategic critical metals increasing their recycling and recovery rates mixed waste streams; - Demonstrate the high environmental and market potential of an innovative application of the hydrometallurgical processes; - Develop a new supply chain of plants suitable to solve specific problems of recovery of critical raw materials from different waste streams, targeted to a wide market of small medium sized industrial subjects, more environmental friendly compared to the current applied technologies. Feasibility and efficiency of the proposed integrated approach will be shown by its demonstrative application in two different partner site: THETIS, an engineering company providing services and innovative technologies for environment and territory operating with a wide expertise on environmental processes of Venice lagoon and surrounding territory, and MARTE an SME involved in the field of collection, transport and pre-treatment of different kind of wastes. Moreover, environmental improvements of the proposed strategy will be assessed throughout a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), as well as a final evaluation of the socio-economic impacts at Europe level in order to demonstrate the feasibility of the demonstration plant at the several levels. The proposed demonstrative eco-innovative pilot plant will be designed and build-up in two different sections according to the specific features of MARTE and THETIS: the first having an operative site located in Rome (RM) and devoted to the disassembling and pretreatment of the waste material and the other located in Porto Marghera (VE), devoted to the preprocessing and endprocessing steps. Porto Marghera is an area that has been one of the biggest chemical industrial district in Italy, and it is still an important logistic hub for Europe. The demonstration plant proposed in this project can be considered as a part of the path for the requalification and enhancement of this industrial district, which TETHIS has performed in collaboration with ENEA in the recent past, with the specific aim of achieving its environmental improvement and regeneration.




Elisa Casella

A resource efficient Europe can be only achieved through the ultimate ambition of a world without waste and pollution, which represents the ideal situation according to the “cradle to cradle” principle as opposed to the “cradle to grave” business model, where products that have reached the end of their useful lives are considered worthless.
The overall outcome of the proposed project is an assessment of the potential of hydrometallurgical processing for the recovery of valuable raw materials, by means of the design and building-up of flexible prototypal pilot plant that can demonstrate the technical-economic feasibility of the proposed technology. Monitoring, evaluation, demonstration and active dissemination of the main project results are an integral part of the project.
Therefore, the project expected results are the following:
– Successful implementation of existing and well developed hydrometallurgical techniques in an innovative flexible small-medium sized plant that can obtain a more rapid market uptake, an increased recovery rates of raw material and a higher preservation of environment in the short-medium term;
– Assessment of the benefits of the application of the proposed waste recovery methodology in terms of improved resource efficiency and reduced environmental impact;
– Production of guidelines on how to turn different kind of wastes into valuable secondary raw materials ensuring their valorization by means of hydrometallurgical processing;
– Disseminate the project results to related stakeholders in EU;

Eco-innovation of the recovery methodology proposed is achieved by the application of hydrometallurgy as opposed to pyrometallurgy, which allows the minimization of the process environmental impact. In fact, pyrometallurgy involves heating in a blast furnace at temperatures above 1500°C to convert waste to a form that can be refined; this operation is accompanied with strong gas emissions including:
– CO2–CO coming from oxidation of carbon used as the reducer
– Dust of scrap metals and other components
– Green house effect gases like SO2 , Cl2, HCl and NOx
– Organic volatile compounds
– Dioxins (Incinerators have been found to be the largest producers of dioxins and furans)
The alternative solution proposed in this project consists of hydrometallurgical technology, that is the selective dissolution of metals from different kind of waste. The hydrometallurgical process requires the use of aqueous chemicals and much lower temperatures to separate metal. If metals obtained from waste still contains impurities, special refining processes are required.
Hydrometallurgy generates some hazardous gases (chlorine, noxious, hydrogen cyanide gases) and wastewater, nevertheless, as the treatment of these gases and wastewater utilizes common established technology, its efficiency can be justified with much lower capital investment. No gases can escape and solvents are fully trapped at room temperature, where it is not in position to produce dioxins or other greenhouse effects. Hydrometallurgy is more environmentally friendly also because sulphur is presented as either a stable sulphate or elemental sulphur rather than sulphur dioxide emissions. Moreover, in terms of mass balance, smelting leads to higher loss of metals as compared to hydrometallurgy. In terms of energy use, there is no doubt that smelting means high energy consumption. Hydrometallurgy leads to a higher recovery rate due to relative ease in leaching of product and the possibility of cascading – re-circulating solid waste to the next step and achieving a high recovery rate with chemical precipitation of electro-winning. Compared to pyrometallurgy, direct fuel consumption of hydrometallurgy is almost negligible. The choice between pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical treatment of waste to recover raw material is crucial and related to environmental aspects and economic interests.
This project proposal aims at the demonstration of the environmental and economic effectiveness of the application of hydrometallurgical technologies to the recovery of critical raw materials from different kind of waste and EoL products. This alternative technology solution will provide a real answer to the increasing requirements of environmental legislation. Instead of waste treatment and disposal, new technologies for waste avoidance are a challenge today. Such technologies should meet the demand for resource efficiency and an energy poor future and will contribute to growth and competitiveness. Hydrometallurgical routes have become more popular to research because: energy costs are lower; more pollution-conscious communities require “zero discharge” type conditions. An additional benefit of the proposed hydrometallurgical application is linked to the possibility to create medium-small size and flexible plants, that will be able to treat a wide range of materials. This aspect will improve the rates of waste treated.