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Recycling of wastes containing mercury

Mercury is still a useful raw material, used in many areas of life. Our companys main aim is the recovery of
elemental mercury and the avoidance of mercury emissions. The collection and acquisition of these wastes enables
us to process them in an environmentally safe manner by applying our modern technologies.
Examples of mercury-containing wastes:
Switches, thermometers, rectifiers, manometers, ion-exchangers, mercury-containing sludges, filter cakes, filter
residues, decomposer graphite, wastewater filter sludge, construction and demolition wastes, filter candles.
These waste types are exclusively transported and warehoused in approved containers, for example, plastic
barrels, steel drums, big-bags.
EWC* Type of waste (EWC = European Waste Code)
060404 - Wastes containing mercury
050701 - Wastes containing mercury
We use three methods to process the waste types mentioned above:

1.

Manual recovery construction parts, devices

2.

Vacuum-Dry-Mixer sludges containing mercury, filter cakes

3.

Revolving-Kiln-Distillation dry wastes

The plants are approved by the District Government of Dsseldorf, Germany, in accordance with the Federal
Immission Control Act (Bundes-Immissionsschutzgesetz).
Our Technologies

1. Crush-Wash-Sieve-System
Fluorescent tubes and broken glass from special lamps (CFL) are fragmented without prior sorting, washed and
separated according to various materials. The capacity of the plant is at 2 tons per hour and is operated in three
shifts.

2. Revolving-Kiln-Distillation
Continuous, indirectly heated distillation technique for bulk materials. A process with ideal heat transfer, processing
temperatures of up to 800C and a throughput capacity of 0.2 to 1.0 tons per hour.

3. Vacuum-Dry-Mixer

For drying and distillation of mercury-containing sludges, in particular for sludges with a high organic content or
hydrocarbons. The mixing process aids liquid separation and optimises energy efficiency.

4. High-purity distillation
Vacuum distillation to recover high-purity mercury up to 99.999999 percent. Packed and shipped in custom-made
containers up to one ton.

High-purity distillation
The mercury recovered from various processes is further cleaned by our vacuum high-purity distillation to produce
defined purity grades. Low boiling temperatures are possible due to distillation at deep vacuum, permitting a high
purity grade to be achieved in each distillation step. Depending on the given application purpose, purities of 5N to
8N quality are produced in this plant.

High-purity distillation

High-purity distillation

High-purity distillation

Vacuum-Dry-Mixer
The indirectly heated Vacuum-Dry-Mixer is used for an
efficient processing of mercury-containing sludges.
Permanent mixing of the sludges enables an optimum
energy yield and a maximum evaporation of water.
Operation proceeds in two steps. Water and, if present,
hydrocarbons evaporate in the first processing step. In
the second step, mercury is recovered by applying the
maximum vacuum. The dryer processes approximately
0.5 to 1.0 tons per hour.

Vacuum-Dry-Mixer

Revolving-Kiln-Distillation
The waste materials are steadily loaded into the Revolving-Kiln over an application hopper and a dosage system.
The plant is kept in operation 24 hour a day and works with a capacity of 0.2 to 1.0 tons per hour.
The Revolving-Kiln is indirectly heated in four heating zones by means of gas-burners, and the wastes are
processed at maximum temperatures of 800C. The materials are conveyed at a consistent pace through the
Revolving-Kiln by the rotary motion of the plant, heating the wastes above 356C evaporates the mercury residing
in the waste material.
Keeping the waste in motion enables especially good heat conduction and rapid evaporation of the mercury. The
required process time of the wastes inside the Revolving-Kiln depends on the initial materials and usually ranges
from 0.5 to 1.5 hours. Processing is done under vacuum conditions so that no hazardous emissions occur.
If necessary, nitrogen can be introduced into the process to produce inert atmosphere in the kiln. The exhaust-air
flow is led through a hot-gas dust filter and two gas scrubbers, in which the mercury condenses. The exhaust air
thus cleaned is finally conducted through an activated charcoal filtration system.

Revolving Kiln Distillation

Revolving Kiln Distillation

Revolving Kiln Distillation

Broken glass washing process


Fluorescent lighting tubes and special lamp units consist of glass, metals, fluorescent powder and small quantities
of mercury. Our task is the forward-looking appropriate recovery of these raw materials in a manner complying
with the product specifications of our customers.
The DELA broken glass washing process is at present the only technology permitting an environmentally friendly
and form-independent exploitation of currently approx. 10 000 tonnes of old lamps annually, including mechanically
intact lamps, broken lamps and lamp production waste material.
The fluorescent lighting tubes are brought directly from the collecting containers (boxes, rung pallets, grid boxes)
into the crushing unit which breaks them down to broken glass of convenient piece size. Alternatively, already precrushed lamps are delivered in big bags and fed into the same process. The fluorescent material is cleaned off the
broken lamps with water in a vibration basin.
The fluorescent material and the mercury sediment in an inclined clarifier and the water is purified for return to the
washing process circulation. The produced fluorescent powder slurry is distilled in our rotating tube and the
mercury is recovered.
Special screening processes separate the material flow of the washed crushed glass and metals into soda-lime
glass, lead glass and end caps. The soda-lime glass is dried and then fed via an optical recognition system for
quality assurance. The processed soda-lime glass is used for the production of new fluorescent lighting tubes and
the metals are utilised as secondary raw materials. The special lamp units are broken down in a separate crusher
and then fed to the broken glass washing process separated from the fluorescent lighting tubes.

Broken glass washing process

Broken glass washing process

Broken glass washing process