Indaver is a supplier of high-quality materials and aims to expand this further. We continuously look for new and more efficient ways of recovering materials.
Thanks to the efforts of Indaver – among others – recycling has become the standard for waste flows such as glass, paper and plastics. Recovering raw materials from hazardous waste, on the other hand, is only feasible if we can be certain that this is safe for humans and the environment. Indaver meets this challenge.
We constantly look for new and better ways to valorise hazardous waste materials. In the past, the emphasis was on neutralising hazardous waste by breaking down the molecules in the chemical process. We are now studying which components of this waste flow have sufficient value for recovering them in a safe and efficient manner.
We examine the tiniest building-blocks – molecules – to see which ones can be reused safely and effectively. An example of this is the hydrochloric generation by Indaver at Tata Steel in IJmuiden. We are currently studying whether and how we can recover elements like chlorine, iodine, sulphuric acid, fluorine, etcetera.
Given that our primary raw materials are diminishing and there is global pressure to reduce costs, our industry is reclaiming as many materials as possible from waste, from both the usual waste and additionally from complex industrial waste. Palladium is one of these rare natural raw materials - and consequently very expensive - which is used as a catalyst in pharmaceutical processes. In view of its rareness and high price, it is very beneficial for the industry to be able to recover this type of material.
The Business Development department within Industrial Waste Services (IWS) set up Indaver Molecule Management® in order to reclaim as many materials as possible from that complex industrial waste. They analyse the chemical and pharmaceutical waste of all IWS clients down to the smallest detail, or to a molecular level.
Special innovative techniques now make it possible to isolate rare and valuable molecules such as hydrochloric acid, iron oxide, rare earth metals, iodine and palladium without compromising on the quality of the end product. The leftover waste, is then processed in accordance with the strictest safety standards. That means rare materials can be re-used within the industry. At that point the circular economy becomes a reality because in doing this we are actually closing the loop.
Iodine has many applications: as an anti-oxidant in chemical processes, as a catalyst in the production of pharmaceuticals or as a contrast medium in medicine. Iodine is certainly an essential raw material for producing acetic acid, nylon and the familiar iodine tablets. Because iodine is mainly found in Japan and Chile and therefor has to be exported to Europe, this raw material is very expensive.
Iodine recovery is thus an economically efficient solution for Europe’s major industries. It also increases Europe’s independence as far as buying primary raw materials from other continents is concerned.
As a major player in Europe’s waste industry, Indaver manages around 5 million tonnes of waste a year. In the summer of 2014, Indaver set up a pilot project, together with a number of clients who have some waste streams that contain iodine. The primary consideration in doing this was environmental feasibility and the quality of the end residue. In-depth laboratory analysis of a range of test results confirmed the pure quality of the recovered iodine. To guarantee sales of larger volumes of recovered iodine, Indaver is in discussion with a range of potential buyers.
Based on our experience in the pilot test during the iodine recovery project, Indaver intends to scale up similar recovery technology with the ultimate aim of a full-scale recovery plant at its site in Antwerp.