Economic Results

Economic resultsLife Dime is an innovative, low cost and environmentally friendly solution for the treatment of wastewater from the metal finishing industry and has a high replication and transferability rate. By including the Life Dime solution in metal finishing process, both the steel, iron and other metal industries can increase savings by recycling and reusing their SPL/SSL wastewater:

  • Life Dime is the most efficient system to recover and reuse the main raw materials used to perform pickling and galvanizing operations in steelmaking and galvanizing industries. HCl is a basic raw material and is used as pickling acid in the steelmaking and galvanizing industry to remove rust from steel and the use of this acid involves a high expenditure cost. Life Dime provides cost savings of 60 €/m3 of HCl at 35% by recycling acids from spent liquors, significantly reducing the consumption of raw materials.
  • Cost savings of 289 €/t associated to Zn recovery because ZnCl2 will be reused in the fluxing phase of the galvanizing process.
  • It generates marketable by-products in the form of Fe2SO4·7H2O that can be sold to the horticulture and viticulture sectors as fertilizers. The incomes from selling this by-product will be a net 40 €/t (selling price 65 €/t iron sulphate minus sulfuric acid consumption 25 €/T= 40 €/t net)
  • Life Dime solution is a ZLD technology that avoids extra-costs derived from sludge management when it is disposed as scheduled waste from current treatments. Cost savings of 40 €/m3 are envisaged by eliminating the need to neutralize and dispose SPL and SSL in landfills. In addition, Life Dime can be located onsite, avoiding the costly transportation of waste.

Economic resultsThe potential positive consequences of the Life Dime treatment system at an environmental and socio-economic level are significant and can be next summarized as follows:

1 – Once the strength of HCl has been reduced and cannot be reused, it needs to be disposed of as scheduled waste. In this case, the disposal cost is greater than the initial acid purchase price (McClay, 2007).

2 – SPL and SSL are the main sources of waste in metal and hot dip galvanizing industries. Current treatments (mainly neutralization), produce large amounts of sludge that needs to be managed.

3 – The Life Dime process fully recovers HCl, therefore the cost savings (after removing the energy consumption of the process) allows for a quick investment recovery. Furthermore, the system allows the recovered HCl to be used to form new pickling baths.

4 – The system fully recovers the metals contained in the SPL and SSL. In this regard, Fe is recovered as a crystalline FeSO4 and commercialized as a fertilizer (horticulture, viticulture, etc.). FeSO4 is also used as raw material for cement manufacturing, soaps or inks, among others. The selling price of ferrous sulphate far outweighs the costs of sulphuric acid (raw material needed to perform LIFE DIME process, see Actions B).

5- Zn will be fully recovered as ZnCl2 for hot-dip galvanizing industries, which will be used in the very same galvanizing process.

The Life Dime process is flexible and adaptable to future modifications and innovations in order to maximize system efficiency and its application in other industries and sectors. A new treatment cycle has been created with LIFE DIME project for highly polluting waste. This waste currently generates enormous disposal problems due to the high salinity of the treated effluent and the generation of large amounts of sludge that must be rendered inert before its disposal in controlled landfills. With the proposed solution it is possible to recover virtually 100% of the recoverable elements of the SPL and SSL derived from metal industry activities.

The main contribution of the project in terms of reducing the carbon footprint comes from the demonstration of a sustainable process that offers different environmental benefits: efficient wastewater treatment, reduction of sludge production, zero liquid discharge, no air emissions and the reuse and recycling of raw materials.

Environmental Results

Contribution to fight climate change

Economic resultsEnergy Intensive Industries (EII) such as the ones composing the metallurgic sector, are one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions. The steel industry caused between 4%-7% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in EU27 (252,5 million tonnes of CO2 on average during 2005-2008).

Surface treatment processes are not a major source of air emissions, but some emissions which may be locally important include NOx, HCl, HF and acid particulates from pickling operations. Energy (fossil fuel and electricity) is used for heating processes and drying. Electricity is also used for cooling in some cases, as well as driving electrochemical processes, pumps and process equipment, supplementary vat heating, work space heating and lighting EU steel facilities will struggle to achieve further significant CO2 emission reduction without the introduction of breakthrough technologies (EU-Joint Research Centre).

The most important contribution of Life Dime in the reduction of GHG emissions is its Life Cycle Approach (LCA), increasing raw material recycling rates and improving the use of by-products, with low energy consumption (90 MWh/year). Alternatively energy consumption during the Rhuthner process has been estimated a 576 Mwh/year. By applying Life Dime technology in Europe, energy savings compared to current processes would amount to almost 0,4 million barrels of crude oil equivalent per year, and it is estimated that global energy savings could reach 1,6 million barrels of crude oil equivalent per year after project replication.

It is important to note that transportation is the fastest growing major contributor to global climate change, accounting for 23% of energy-related CO2 emissions. Within this sector, road transport is by far the biggest contributor representing more than 70% of all GHG emissions in 2014. The Life Dime solution promotes reuse and recycling, therefore no waste is generated and, as such, avoids transportation associated to waste disposal in landfills.

In addition, Life Dime technology avoids the salinization of large amounts of water (receptor body), in the case of typical acid neutralization with caustic soda. It regenerates fresh HCl solution at 18%, avoiding the use of water when diluting fresh pickling liquors with water. This is an important aspect because the adaptation to climate change is closely linked to water and its role in sustainable development. As a result we can affirm that the project is clearly a project to adapt climate change.