Blue Phoenix produces a proven alternative to primary aggregates

Blue Phoenix produces a proven alternative to primary aggregates that is circled back into the economy.

As a processor of Incinerator Bottom Ash (IBA), Blue Phoenix is responsible for diverting millions of tonnes of waste material each year from landfills.

Working closely with partners in the energy-from-waste (EfW) sector, the company has designed and developed operational facilities to process IBA from EfW plants to produce aggregates in urban located sites, preventing greenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, production, and transport.

“Globally, we have made huge steps forward towards our mission of building a sustainable future,” says Paul Knight, Chief Executive Officer.

Ian Lynass, Blue Phoenix Australia Managing Director. Image: Blue Phoenix

Blue Phoenix designed and developed a technology that treats IBA by extracting the mineral fraction and recovering ferrous and non-ferrous metals that can be circled back into the economy. 

The effective removal of metals allows Blue Phoenix to transform IBA minerals into a sustainable source of aggregates that can be used for construction and civil engineering projects as a replacement for primary material. 

Not only does this reduce the volume of waste that goes to landfill, but it also reduces the demand for the mining of primary resources.

Paul says the low carbon alternative to primary aggregates diverts waste from landfills and contributes to the circular economy on a large scale. After decades of experience in UK, Europe and US, Blue Phoenix has expanded its horizons.

“There are strong markets for IBA operations across Europe, and we’re now working toward expanding globally into new and developing markets,” Paul says. “We’ve most recently built Australia’s first IBA processing facility, working hand-in-hand with Australian authorities on the regulation around the safe and responsible use of IBAA (IBA aggregates) in the Australian market.”

Low-carbon alternative

When compared against the use of primary aggregates, IBAA has less material usage, fewer vehicle movements, lower carbon dioxide emissions, and provides cementitious and mild pozzolanic performance benefits.

“Due to these properties, and to the fact that it compacts readily and does not segregate, IBAA is a great material for building pavement foundations as a capping or subbase,” Paul says.

“Furthermore, it also works very well as an aggregate for hydraulically bound mixtures (HBMs) with cement, lime/fly ash or slag binder, and has been used extensively in Europe as an embankment fill material or a backfill to structures.

“Overall, IBAA provides a greater resource circularity and promotion of government recycling initiatives through resource extraction from waste streams that would otherwise have been disposed of.”

Blue Phoenix processes millions of tonnes of material worldwide. Paul says the global scale of operations requires continual research and innovation to maintain a reliable, high-quality output. Blue Phoenix has introduced a research and innovation (R&I) team, focused on looking at new technologies and applications.

The facility in Hope Valley, Western Australia is the first in Australia to bring together all of Blue Phoenix’s technology. Image: Blue Phoenix

The differences between countries produces varying qualities of input material, or IBA, and they often have different requirements for output quality. 

Blue Phoenix has grown with mature IBAA markets and is working to introduce alternative aggregates in new markets that are now discovering the benefits of IBAA.

Advancing Australia

Australia is at a turning point in allowing energy recovery from non-recyclable waste. Paul says the knowledge and experience of Blue Phoenix contributes to the responsible use of IBA aggregates in Australia, improving the circularity of the wider waste management sector.

Ian Lynass, Managing Director of Blue Phoenix Australia, says the primary focus will be working with government departments, agencies, customers, and users to evolve regulation and support the development of sustainable aggregate markets.

As a waste management platform, Blue Phoenix believes that improving waste treatment and the use of secondary resources from waste products is critical to limiting GHG emissions, pollution, and land-use changes.

“Our new facility in Hope Valley, Western Australia is the first in Australia, and the world, to bring all of Blue Phoenix’s technology together in the one plant. This facility will process 100 per cent of the IBA – about 80,000 tonnes per annum – from Acciona, our EfW partner” Ian says.

The plant recovers metal down to minus two millimetres and returns the residual aggregates into bound and unbound civil applications. 

This process seeks to liberate agglomerated slags and metals to allow for further refinement and valorisation, but importantly the residual minerals are recovered to provide a proven aggregate for reuse in the civil construction industry.

Working closely with Australian regulators, Ian says Blue Phoenix puts environmental protection at the forefront of business operations. 

He says with the plant expected to become operational this year, it won’t be long before IBAA is safely applied to a range of future infrastructure projects across the country.  

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