Supply of waste catalyst and mapping of relevant resources

Work package 2, known as “Supply of waste catalyst and mapping of relevant resources has two main objectives. The first one is to characterise and supply catalyst samples to the research and development, and the optimisation activities, as well as to feed also the FIREFLY small-scale pilot. The second objective is to conduct a Material Flow Analysis on the catalyst materials and develop a Geographical Information System (GIS) inventory of catalysts at European level. Both objectives will facilitate the mapping process and extend the knowledge of catalyst resources for the FIREFLY technology.

During the initial six-month period, partners have selected, characterised and provided catalyst samples to the technological developers involved in the FIREFLY process. The catalyst samples were selected and acquired after their use in various industrial processes such as coal-fired power plants, automotive recycling, sulphuric acid production, metal and battery recycling, pharmaceutical production, metallurgical protective coating and glass colouration. The characterisation of both solid and liquid samples included an extensive analysis of their chemical composition, mineralogy, moisture, and other properties. Next steps in this work package entail further selection, characterisation and distribution of other catalyst samples that could potentially hold relevance to the FIREFLY process and its different technologies.

picture showing samples of spent catalysts used in different industries and processes and further utilised in the FIREFLY project for recycling

Left – Sample of multimetal bearing composite from SOLVAKEM; Right – Sample of Vanadium pentaoxide catalyst waste from SOLVAKEM

Simultaneously, the Material Flow Analysis on the catalyst-containing materials is advancing. This process will study the input and output of materials throughout the FIREFLY process. It encompasses various aspects, including the definition of the elements to be considered, the classification of flows and stocks of materials, the identification of the processes together with their interrelationships, and the determination of process yields for each element. The Material Flow Analysis targets relevant elements such as metals, including gold (Au), silver (Ag) and platinum group metals (PGMs) (as illustrated in the image below). These particular metals hold great potential to generate economic value from waste catalysts.

Periodic Table of elements, with the elements considered so far for the Material Flow Analysis

Periodic Table of elements, with the elements considered so far for the Material Flow Analysis