The central component of SMS group’s WEEE recycling concepts is either the BlueSmelter and/or the top blown rotary converter (TBRC). Compared, the BlueSmelter can also handle lower-grade WEEE with higher organic contents. The concept of the BlueSmelter had been successfully demonstrated at an industrial size demonstration plant and resulted in a new generation bath smelting furnace, applying a high-speed SIS/injector. In these industrial-scale trials, various WEEE qualities were treated. The test confirmed high metal recovery rates and low emission levels (particularly for NOx). Furthermore, the SIS was also tested successfully in a range of 0–100 % with H2 as fuel. The flame characteristics (such as length, temperature) were quite similar, when using natural gas or H2 as a substitution.
The current design offers an annual capacity of 1,000–100,000 tons of e-scrap concentrate. It can be installed as a complete greenfield plant, or as a supplement to existing copper or nickel smelters using the existing infrastructure of the plant.
When high-grade WEEE material is available, the TBRC can be operated as the primary smelter and refiner, producing raw copper. SMS group is currently installing a WEEE recycling plant with one TBRC as a primary smelter near Moscow, Russia.
This plant is designed to process about 4,000 tons of printed circuit boards every year to LME/LBMA-grade metals, such as copper, nickel, silver, gold, and platinum. For future expansion, the installation of a BlueSmelter is being considered, to allow the processing of low-grade WEEE and to increase the overall plant capacity.