Energy efficiency is the second pillar of Germany's strategy to transform its energy system
Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier today opened a new precious metal recovery plant operated by the Aurubis copper group of Hamburg. The new plant was funded in part by a grant from the Environment Innovation Programme of the Federal Environment Ministry. A new process will reduce the pilot project's energy demand by more than one third. "Energy efficiency is the second pillar of Germany's strategy to transform its energy system. We therefore need to significantly reduce electricity and energy consumption, including in industrial processes. We want Germany to become one of the most efficient economies worldwide", said Peter Altmaier.
Anode sludge, a by-product of the company's copper processing activities, contains precious metals such as gold and silver. Recovery of these precious metals requires dehydration of the sludge. A novel dehydration process will be used for this purpose. A trial run of the plant has shown that the pilot project's goals are even likely to be exceeded.
The novel dehydration process is part of an overall concept for the treatment of anode sludge that aims to optimize energy efficiency, recover resources and cut emissions. When operating at full capacity, the production plant will reduce annual CO2 emissions by 460 tonnes. The pilot project received an investment grant of 328,000 euros from the Environment Innovation Programme of the Federal Environment Ministry. The process can also be used for the dehydration of sludges in other plant types in the non-ferrous metal and steel industry.