The 3rd International Slag Valorisation Symposium is jointly hosted by:

  1. the Centre for High Temperature Processes and Sustainable Materials Management, and the research group High Temperature Processes and Industrial Ecology (HiTemp), which are both part of the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering of the KU Leuven (Belgium)
  2. the Centre for Resource Recovery and Recycling, European Branch
  3. the SIM² KU Leuven Consortium
  4. SMaRT-Pro² IRF KU Leuven Knowledge Platform
  5. The Department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  6. RARE³ - Research Platform for the Advanced Recycling and Reuse of Rare Earths

Who are we?

Centre for High Temperature Processes and Sustainable Materials Management

This University of Leuven research Centre (established 1/1/2007) consists of a co-operation between the research group 'High Temperature Processes and Industrial Ecology' (dept. MTM) and leading materials and recycling companies, including Aperam, Umicore and Group Machiels. The Centre is closely affiliated with CR³ and SIM². The mission statement of the Centre is "To enhance the ecological and economical sustainability of high-temperature processes, using an interdisciplinary and holistic research approach, targeting (mainly) competitive projects, which are problem driven and science-deep". The application domains include ferrous industries, non-ferrous Industries and residue valorisation and building materials. The Competence domains of the Centre are:

  • Vessel integrity (mitigating refractory wear, freeze lining solutions),
  • High-temperature experimentation (vacuum induction furnace, tube furnaces, CSLM, slag granulation, etc.),
  • High-temperature process modeling,
  • Industrial ecology (process + methodological approach),
  • Microstructural characterisation (FEG EPMA-WDS/EDS, SEM-EDS, e-SEM, FIB, QXRD, XRF, MS, etc.).

For the base funding (60 k€/year) two types of projects are performed. Specific projects include short, targeted projects, feasibility studies, definition and writing of research proposals to outside sponsors. The second type consists of "general work". General projects should strengthen the scientific and technical expertise of the Centre. The main goal of the Centre is, however, to initiate larger industry/academia competitive research projects.

Through the partnership with a highly networked academic group, Centre Partners are continuously exposed to new ideas, bright students and researchers. The centre allows access to state-of-the-art experimental and characterisation equipment and modeling software, providing a higher base level of relevant expertise. It mainly acts as a flywheel for larger industrial projects, that may be government sponsored. The center is open for new members.

For more information, contact or .

CR³ (Centre for Resource Recovery and Recycling)

The Materials Resource Recovery and Recycling I/UCRC centre anticipates a future that values and increasingly strives to achieve materials sustainability. We are progressing towards a time when materials recovery and recycling are no longer an afterthought, but rather represent a critical consideration in the design and manufacture of materials and products. In the future, the efficiency of materials recovery from the waste stream will increase and recycled scrap will be the preferred input material for materials processes yielding both energy and cost saving.

Research within the Centre for Resource Recovery and Recycling I/UCRC will build the basic science, generic solution strategies, and precompetitive, innovative recovery and recycling technologies for a broad spectrum of industries, products, and materials.

In 2010, A European branch of this Centre was established with the KU Leuven as the convenor.

For more information, contact .

SIM² KU Leuven Consortium

SIM² is the consortium of research groups at KU Leuven on Sustainable Inorganic Materials Management. SIM² is addressing the European and global demand for more innovation and research on resource recovery and recycling with a strong focus on inorganic materials. SIM² is part of the Leuven Materials Research Center. Research in SIM² is performed in five research areas - efficient materials production, pollutant immobilization, secondary resources for building materials, recycling of metals and minerals & policy research.

The SIM² consortium consists of research groups with different backgrounds:

For more information, contact: (Dept. of Chemical Engineering), (Dept. of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering) or (Dept. of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering).


The Industrial Knowledge Platform on Sustainable Materialisation of Residues from Thermal Processes into Products - SMaRT-Pro² - is one of the flagship projects of the SIM² KU Leuven consortium. SMaRT-Pro² brings together research groups within the KU Leuven Association to collaborate on the valorisation of inorganic byproducts, such as solid waste and carbon dioxide, from industrial processes. Working closely with industry, government and civil society, the generic goal is to strengthen knowledge on valorisation of inorganic industrial by-products and provide a formal platform that can enhance the closing of industrial material cycles in Flanders and abroad.

Various types of waste-to-product valorisation are addressed. Besides the technological barriers, also non-technical issues are hampering treatment and recycling, such as market opportunities, governmental and societal support, multi-actor relationships and ecological relevance. The conceptual design of the Knowledge Platform incorporates both the scientific work (see website) as well as the broader valorisation work. It also illustrates the relation of this Platform with parallel initiatives such as the Enhanced Landfill Mining Consortium, coordinated by P. T. Jones, and the more fundamental work performed on reference materials (e.g. olivine/serpentine, construction and demolition waste) in several of the groups involved.

For more information, contact , or .

MTM (Dept. Of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering - KU Leuven)

The department of Metallurgy and Materials Engineering is one of the seven departments of the Faculty of Engineering Sciences of the KU Leuven. The mission of MTM is to take care of education, to perform research in the field of materials science and its industrial applications, and to grant services to the community. To accomplish this, MTM has a staff of over 150 employees. The research domains are:

As it is believed that the information contained in the periodic table of Mendeleev is one of the corner stones of material science, a life-size table of Mendeleev was built in the spring of 2011 at MTM. The table is on display in the entrance hall of the department.


Since 2004 rare earths have become increasingly important, because of their essential role in permanent magnets, lamp and phosphors, catalysts and rechargeable batteries. The increasing popularity of hybrid and electric cars, wind turbines and compact fluorescent lamps is causing an unprecedented increase in the demand and price of rare earths. China's domestic demand of rare earths has been growing so fast during the last years that it is predicted that China itself will consume its entire annual production by 2012 or, at latest, from 2014 on. Since a few years, China is strictly regulating the export of rare earths. These export quota cause serious problems for consumers of rare earths outside China, and also for the development of a more sustainable economy. Although Europe has some potentially exploitable natural resources of rare earths and has access to secondary waste streams, recycling of rare earths from pre-consumer scrap and End-of-Life products is a strategic necessity. In addition, recycling can avoid the problems associated with radioactive thorium and uranium impurities in rare-earth ores and recycling requires much less energy input than primary mining activities.

The KU Leuven funded project RARE³ (800 kEURO, 4 PhD students) is focused on breakthrough recycling processes based on non-aqueous technology for the two main applications of rare earths: permanent magnets and lamp phosphors, which represent >70% of the rare earths market by value. By recycling the REEs from phosphors and magnets one specifically targets the five most critical rare earths: Nd, Eu, Tb, Dy and Y. This work is part of a more general objective to create fully integrated, closed-loop recycling flow sheets for rare-earth magnets and phosphors. Concurrently, a consequential life cycle analysis (LCA) has to be carried out for the recycling of rare earths in magnets and lamp phosphors.

RARE³ is structurally embedded in the flagship SIM² research line at KU Leuven and features a User Committee consisting of major REE players in the EU and the US (Umicore, Rhodia, MEAB, HC Starck, Chemconserve, Veolia, MEFOS, Öko Institut, General Electric, Philips, Osram, Yara, Indaver, Group Machiels, Revatech, FEBEM, Van Gansewinkel, ArcelorMittal, Prayon, Hydrometal, Decistor, Metsol, InsPyro, LCM, Nokia, COBEREC).

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