Towards a greener mineral and metal industry in Europe

Developing an innovative technology to make the production of alumina, silica and calcium carbonate more environmentally friendly – ​​that is the goal of the Horizon 2020 AlSiCal project. These high-demand raw materials are currently obtained through traditional processes that generate large CO2 emissions, and bauxite residue in the case of alumina production from bauxite by the Bayer process. The AlSiCal project offers a new ground-breaking, clean and safe technological solution that will secure a European sustainable production of these raw materials whilst minimizing environmental impact. Within this project, PNO is responsible for the communication, dissemination and exploitation activities.

Overview of the AlSiCal project

AlSiCal is an ambitious research and innovation effort to make the mineral and metal industry more sustainable and environmentally sound. The project will further research, develop and de-risk a ground-breaking concept: the patented Aranda-Mastin technology. By integrating CO2 capture, this technology enables the co-production of three essential raw materials (alumina, silica and precipitated calcium carbonate), using new resources – e.g. anorthosite, abundantly available worldwide – whilst generating ZERO bauxite residue and ZERO carbon dioxide (CO2) from production.

The AlSiCal consortium comprises 16 international partners from 9 countries, representing the whole value chain in the mineral and metal industry. The project benefits from the participation of research and technology organizations, mining and mineral exploration companies, technology developers, end users, business developers and international interests organizations, jointly aiming at an effective and efficient innovation.

AlSiCal started in September 2019 and will continue until 2023. The project location is the site of the coordinator, the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE) in Kjeller, Norway. The European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme has provided funding for the project.

Objectives of the project

The overarching objectives of AlSiCal are:

  • The project will position the European Union at the forefront of innovation for the Green Shift for the mineral and metal industry.
  • The project will secure European sustainable production of alumina, silica and precipitated calcium carbonate by researching, developing and de-risking a ground-breaking technology for ZERO Bauxite residue and ZERO CO2 emissions from their co-production.
  • The project will unlock substantial reserves of new resources within the European Union – and from worldwide available resources – that can complement or substitute today’s worldwide production of alumina under sustainable principles.

Our involvement in the project

PNO plays an important role within the consortium with responsibility for dissemination and communication. This concerns internal communication within the consortium as well as external communication – for example, setting up and keeping the AlSiCal project website up-to-date, making presentations for conferences, and promoting the project in the (trade) press. In addition, we also provide stakeholder analyses and plans for exploitation. For the success of this project, it is important for the consortium to be kept up-to-date on other European projects in the field, and here PNO’s expertise is invaluable: we take care of the contacts, transfer of information and ensure synergy.