By: Fredrik Kanth, Technical Development Manager of Boliden
As one of Europe’s most innovative lead producers we are using algae (a diverse group of aquatic organisms that conduct photosynthesis) to filter out carbon gases and turn the production process into an eco-friendly carbon neutral operation.
Our company, Sweden’s Boliden Bergsöe, is trialling a new carbon capture technology which has the added benefit of removing lead particles from the recycling and smelting processes at the hi-tech plant.
Now a joint research project with the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) supported by the Swedish Energy Agency involves cultivating algae to feed on CO2 emissions, and clean metal emissions from the flue gas.
Gas from the industrial processes at one of our plants is fed from a chimney into pools of water where microalgae soak up the CO2 and create biomass – material which can be used for energy production or in various industrial processes as raw material for producing a range of products.
When the algae dries, the biomass is burned so that metals that were in the flue gas are returned to the molten metal.
In a process that is a blueprint for the circular economy, the company can extract energy, clean water and flue gas, and produce metal ingots all at the same time.
We want to use all the techniques available to us to recycle and re-use precious resources as sustainably as possible. This two-year study looks at highly innovative methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and re-using bi-products to make our metal production processes even more efficient.
Boliden has also made a significant investment in a new plastics separation plant to support the recycling of lead batteries. In Europe more than 99% of lead batteries that are collected are fully recycled making them one of the most sustainable products.
As part of its objective to continuously increase the recycling rate of incoming batteries, Boliden’s new plastic separation plant will recover the plastic from car battery casings and convert it into plastic chips to be re-used to manufacture new car battery casings
Boliden is using algae to filter out carbon gases and turn the production process into an eco-friendly carbon neutral operation