Environmental company Ragn-Sells has partnered with Swiss cleantech company Hitachi Zosen Inova for the construction of a new plant, designed to extract resources from fly ash from waste incineration. Within two years, the facility near Stockholm will be able to process fly ash corresponding to half of the yearly production in Sweden.
– Circular solutions like this one reduce emissions, create jobs and build an entirely new Swedish export industry. We are happy to collaborate with Hitachi Zosen Inova, who has long experience in designing and building industrial plants with modern systems, says Ragn-Sells Treatment & Detox CEO Mikael Hedström.
The first ceremonial shovel hit the ground on the new facility on April 14. The plant is based on the Ash2Salt technology, a world patent developed by Ragn-Sells’ innovation subsidiary EasyMining. With Ash2Salt, potassium and several other valuable substances are extracted from the fly ash, while environmental toxins and unwanted substances are removed from the cycle.
Hitachi Zosen Inova is a Swiss environmental technology company specializing in industrial plants, from design to construction and integration of technical solutions.
– Hitachi Zosen Inova has great experience developing and installing systems for processing valuable waste such as fly ash. Ragn-Sells’ new facility is an important step towards a circular society that puts all resources to use, and we are proud to contribute with our expertise, says Ruedi Frey, Senior Engineer at HZI.
Each year, Sweden produces roughly 300,000 metric tonnes of fly ash, a by-product from the treatment of exhaust from plants incinerating waste for heating and electricity. Around half is sent to a discontinued limestone quarry on the Norwegian island of Langøya near Oslo. This practise means that neither resources nor toxic substances are extracted. Additionally, the Langøya quarry will reach maximum capacity and close down within a few years.
– Depositing fly ash in old quarries is last century’s solution, but until now, incineration facilities have not had a sustainable alternative. Now they will have one, and we look forward to carrying on talks in Sweden and abroad about our circular solution, Mr. Hedström says.
The plant in Bro outside Stockholm will be opened in the summer of 2022 and is one of the largest single investments ever within Swedish material recycling.
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When flue gas from waste incineration is scrubbed and filtered, fly ash is formed and captured. This ash is classified as a hazardous waste due to high levels of pollutants, but also contains several desirable compounds, such as potassium and sodium. In the Ash2Salt process, the fly ash is washed and three commercial salts are extracted from the wash liquid: sodium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride.
The ash residues that remain after treatment with Ash2Salt are no longer a hazardous waste, as the majority of environmental toxins have been separated. Therefore, the residues do not need to be placed on special landfills for hazardous waste, and the total volume going to landfill is reduced.
The Ragn-Sells Group is a privately held corporate group, operating companies in four countries.