Within the European EIT KIC Raw Materials Upscaling project AUSOM (AUtomatic SOrting of mixed scrap Metals) KU Leuven will collaborate with the companies Redwave (AU), Spectral Industries (NL) and Galloo (BE) and the research institute Swerim (SW) to develop an automatic sorting technology for metal alloys based on laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). AUSOM aims at bringing an automatic sorting technology for metal alloys based on laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to the market. It will bring a higher quality secondary raw material supply to the European market and meet the identified needs of a robust and cost-effective design that can be incorporated in existing sorting logistics and is capable of sorting steel as well as aluminium and other metals.
Also, the project contributes to the strategic objectives of the KIC by developing recycling processes to maximize the purity level of key and critical metals. This supports the transition to a circular economy by enabling a better use of recycled scrap as secondary raw material and thus limits the need for virgin material. The high value of metals gives good opportunities for realistic business cases for improved recycling. Both the material supply and energy demand are important motivations. To produce aluminium from recycled scrap only requires 5% of the energy compared to extracting virgin material.