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UAE aluminium refiner to test converting waste to soil

Emirates Global Aluminium will conduct large-scale trials to test plant growth using manufactured soil EGA
Emirates Global Aluminium will conduct large-scale trials to test plant growth using manufactured soil

The Abu Dhabi-headquartered aluminium refiner Emirates Global Aluminium has started constructing a pilot plant to convert bauxite residue waste into soil for use in landscaping.

The construction of the plant comes after five years of scientific research and development in collaboration with a consortium of global research partners, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Detailed engineering work was undertaken last year.

The pilot plant will neutralise caustic bauxite residue within hours into an environmentally benign raw material that has been given the name “Turba” (Arabic for soil).

The pilot, expected to be completed in 2024, will allow large-scale trials to test plant growth using the manufactured soil.  

The plant, located at EGA’s site in Al Taweelah in Abu Dhabi, will cover an area of 900 sq m, containing 230 tonnes of steel, more than two km of piping, and 10 separate tanks. It will produce up to six tonnes a day of “optimised” bauxite residue. 

Its specialised filtration system was built in Finland and arrived in the UAE in June.

Turba may have up to 10 times better CO2 absorption properties than the UAE’s natural soil, the company’s statement claimed, citing early analyses.

EGA’s bauxite residue team has already developed other potential applications for bauxite residue, including as a raw material for the steel, cement, and construction industries.

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