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U Queensland scores research deal to turn aluminum waste into soil

By David Schwartz
Published: October 10th, 2017

Australia’s University of Queensland has entered a three-year research agreement with Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), based in the United Arab Emirates, that aims to develop ways to turn a by-product of aluminum production into soil.

The ground-breaking research project with The University of Queensland’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences will investigate combining bauxite residue with agricultural and domestic wastes to create a soil for greening and other uses, the company said in a statement.

The research project is led by Professor Richard Haynes, a renowned soil scientist and expert in the remediation and rehabilitation of bauxite residue deposits.
Universities in the UAE are expected to join the research project in the coming years, to help tailor the soil for the UAE’s desert conditions.

Bauxite residue is a by-product of alumina refining — the process of turning bauxite ore into alumina, which in turn is fed into aluminum smelters. Industry experts estimate that at least 150 million tons of bauxite residue are produced worldwide each year, yet only 2% of this is put to productive use.

EGA intends to use the research program as a step toward reducing or even eliminating the need to store bauxite residue, the company says.

“The project at The University of Queensland is cutting edge research that could turn waste into a useful product that fills a need in the UAE,” said Abdalla Alzarooni, EGA’s vice president of technology development and transfer. “The UAE has set tough targets for the use of bauxite residue, which requires us to take a global lead in finding innovative solutions.”

Source: Trade Arabia

Posted under: Industry-Sponsored Research Week

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