Russian Federation aluminium major U.C. Rusal announced yesterday the signing of a memorandum with state-run technology firm Tiocomposite to commence testing of the production of sulfur polymer concrete utilizing waste product generated in the refining of alumina.
The deal announced yesterday represents an agreement in principle, as Rusal says the particulars are to be fleshed out over the coming year. The agreement is the product of a process that began two years ago with Rusal’s efforts at finding ways to utilize the red mud waste that is separated from alumina in the refining process. As the production of 1 metric ton of alumina typically produces about 1.5 metric tons of red mud, the need for finding a suitable method for productively disposing it is self evident.
Enter Tiocomposite, which is a specialty producer of sulfur concrete. With use in pavement slabs, kerb stones, drain channel trays, gravel, and other unique applications, the firm’s concrete is uniquely strong and resists water and corrosion.
Yesterday’s agreement builds upon a pilot program begun last year consisting of a mobile sulfur polymer concrete unit. The plan going forward will have a unit that processes up to 100 thousand metric tons of dehydrated red mud per annum, yielding up to 200 thousand metric tons per annum of commercial concrete.
The pilot program is expected to produce data regarding process parameters and material characteristics in addition to test batches that will be used in different construction products. Should the pilot program produce favorable results, the parties will determined if full-scale production is commercially viable.
Tiocomposite is a project company of the Nanotechnology Centre of the Republic of Tatarstan and derives funding from the Infrastructural and Educational Programme Foundation of the Rosnano Group. The technology it utilizes for the production of sulfur polymer concrete has never before been used in Russia.