Obtaining tomorrow’s raw materials from today's waste with optimal processing methods

Processing technologies are used both in mining to extract raw materials and in recycling to recover secondary raw materials. In addition to conventional crushing or grinding, composites need to be processed using methods that not only reduce the size of the material but also separate it into its various constituents. One such process is electrodynamic fragmentation, which cleanly sorts complex inorganic composites such as ashes, slags, refractory concretes or concrete.

Fine-grained materials can be processed with selective hydrothermal techniques or special sorting methods: In this way, heavy metals are selectively precipitated and separated, and fine-grained materials sorted according to chemical criteria. If impurities are chemically bound, such as sulfate in aerated concrete, wet-chemical methods like the patented “ENSUBA” process developed by Fraunhofer IBP can be implemented.

Our scientists have made it their business to find the best solution for each problem fraction by combining established as well as new processing methods. For instance, they have demonstrated that aerated concrete can be produced from mixed building rubble.

We are convinced: today's waste materials are tomorrow's raw materials.


Cleanly separating solids - electrodynamic fragmentation


The disruptive technology of electrodynamic fragmentation is used to selectively separate composites such as concretes, slags or ceramic composites into their various constituents by means of ultra-short, high-voltage, electrical pulses. This important process ensures that existing material cycles are closed and new ones are created.



Mechanical processing: Using the right amount of force

To break up materials with varying degrees of hardness, adapted mechanical processes are called for. Therefore, in addition to jaw crushers and ball mills for coarse grinding tasks, our laboratory also has vibrating disk mills for “gently” grinding sensitive materials.


Chemical-physical processing methods: Knowing every trick in the book

In cases where impurities or undesirable contaminants are chemically bound in a material, physical processing methods reach their limits. To solve such problems, our experts develop hydrometallurgical or specific extraction processes - for example, to remove gypsum from building materials.


Sorting: Putting the right ones in the pot

Today, electro-optical sorting techniques are indispensable when it comes to selectively separating composites. In addition to spectroscopic techniques, we collaborate with our partners to develop methods based primarily on the chemical characterization of the particles concerned.