WhISPER. Waterless Iron Silicate Production with Energy Recovery



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Executive Summary

WhISPER aims to demonstrate an innovative and sustainable air-based pyrometallurgical system to produce Iron Silicate in the Non-ferrous Metal Industry through the implementation of a semi-industrial pilot plant, improving the quality of the iron silicate, adding value to the product. This new system will reduce water consumption and recover energy. WhISPER counts with an important educational component to increase the knowledge transfer.


Popular Project Description

In the pyrometallurgical copper smelting process the main product is copper, but there are other products generated when extracting copper from the ore. This is the case with the Iron Silicates (commonly called copper slags) which are the largest co-product generated during the smelting and converting processes of the pyrometallurgical route: for every ton of copper production about 2.2 tons of copper slags are generated.

The European copper sector generates approximately 5 million tons of iron silicates in the copper production through the pyrometallurgical rout, containing valuable metals and other compounds.

Traditionally, copper slags were considered as undesirable “waste” materials that had to be discarded at an additional cost. This material is considered a product by Atlantic Copper, the lead partner, because it can potentially be used for several applications in the construction sector but has a low value in the current market.


The objective of WhISPER is to substitute the current technology for the granulation of the iron silicate by a new atomization technology to the copper sector which is more sustainable from an environmental and from an economic point of view.

Thanks to the atomization technology, water consumption will be drastically reduced, and heat will be recovered in the granulation process of the copper slags, so operational costs and environmental impact will decrease significantly.

The second benefit of the technology is that the quality of the copper slag is expected to improve, and so the product will have a higher value. The new applications of the iron silicate is studied in the project.

WhISPER is looking for a more efficient pyrometallurgical system with the application of a new atomization technology that will lead to a reduction of the environmental footprint while economic benefits increase.


Focus of the Chair of Management Accounting

The Chair of Management Accounting is devoted to the development of a go-to-market strategy, i.e., market assessment, business plan development and evaluation, and ultimately an implementation plan.

As work package leader, the Chair of Management Accounting therefore creates new value creation potentials, estimates the total revenue and cost streams associated with the iron silicate from the new air-based process.

These tasks support the actual implementation of this go-to-market strategy and thereby the application of the research results in the copper industry.

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