Project duration: 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2020


The general objective of this Upscaling project is to produce full-scale final inorganic polymer products, from Metallo copper slag and Aughinish red mud, at the respective companies’ sites, using a modular and mobile upscaling unit. The generated products need to deliver properties similar to or better than traditional market substitutes and will be evaluated in terms of properties (i.e. leaching, durability, fire resistance, …), to allow for their market uptake within 3 years after the project. Next to realizing the target of TRL 7 by the completion of the project, the on-site production of final products at Metallo and Aughinish plants and the related matchmaking events will contribute to the level of customer readiness by demonstrating its feasibility to local construction companies and policymakers, thereby providing a nucleus for industrial symbiosis.

The solution (technology)

The utilization of Fe-rich semi-vitreous industrial residues as precursors for engineered fire-resistant and porous materials that can enter the European construction materials market will lead to products with lower environmental footprint and renders the metallurgical industries important raw materials suppliers that run integrated zero-waste processes. This valorization of secondary resources in construction materials will yield a positive environmental impact by substantially lowering CO2 emissions (reducing cement production, responsible for over 8% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions) and by avoiding the need for landfilling and the related environmental burden. The modular and mobile unit that is used to produce products on-site of the residue producer, allows to reach out to the (traditional) construction industry and have them witness the transformation of residues to products in first person. This allows them to make a fact-based judgment about the extent to which their existing installations can be used to make these products or which adaptations and investments may be necessary. After the project, the unit can be used to train their employees and have them acquire new skills.The matchmaking events set-up at each of the involved residue producers will showcase the innovation to the construction industry, but also to policy-makers and possible the wider public. This will be a trigger to find regional partners for industrial symbiosis. Because the pilot unit is mobile, the approach can easily be applied to other companies and other regions.Like this, a domino effect can be initiated in which increasingly more residue producers (in first instance copper slag and red mud, but later also other residue types) will start to look for valorization opportunities to get more value out of their slag. Considering the size of the construction market, the relative share of secondary resources will remain relatively limited. Therefore, and because the residues will be typically processed regionally, usual competitors may find a common ground to cooperate in the field of residue valorization and commercialization.


  • Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium (Lead Partner)
  • Aughinish Alumina Ltd, Ireland
  • Boliden Commercial AB, Sweden
  • Boliden Mineral AB, Sweden
  • Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), Germany
  • Centre de Recherches Métallurgiques asbl (CRM Group), Belgium
  • Metallo Chimique NV, Belgium
  • National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • ResourceFull BVBA, Belgium
  • Zavod za gradbenistvo Slovenije, ZAG (Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering  Institute), Slovenia

For more information please visit the official website of the project.