Purified Slag Product Tested as Cement Alternative

Finnish company Betolar is exploring the possibility of using slag that is purified from vanadium, which could replace more than 10% of the cement used in Finland.

Betolar is investigating the utilization of slag from the steel industry in the production of cement-free concrete. Betolar does not produce concrete itself, but using the Geoprime solution developed by the company, concrete manufacturers could replace more than 10% of the cement used in Finland.

Betolar has signed a Letter of Intent with two Australian vanadium recovery companies, RISAB and Vanadium Recovery Project Ltd (VRP), to start a research collaboration to develop the process at a planned plant in Pori.

“We see a huge opportunity for Betolar here. If successful, we would be able to offer our customers a specific, currently unused slag of the steel industry to replace cement in concrete. Our customers already have experience in utilizing other type of slag in the production of Geoprime-concrete. Utilizing new side streams will expand the reach of our solution as planned,” said Matti Löppönen, CEO of Betolar.

Demand for vanadium is growing rapidly because vanadium electrolytes are used in, for example, lithium batteries for electric cars and batteries for wind and solar power plants. VRP and RISAB plan to start operating the world’s first carbon-neutral vanadium recovery plant in Pori this year.

The planned plant will be an internationally significant producer of vanadium. Its estimated annual production of 9,000 tonnes equals about 5% of world vanadium production.

The raw material for vanadium used in Pori is slag from SSAB’s steel mills in Raahe and Oxelösund and Luleå, Sweden. The slag is treated in VRP’s vanadium recovery process, leaving about 300,000 tonnes per year. If the process proves feasible, the aim is for Betolar to have an exclusive right to the slag.

Utilizing slag purified from vanadium for the needs of Betolar’s customers solves the side stream problem in a sustainable way. The steel industry will get rid of the slag and Betolar’s customers will be assured of the availability of this slag as a raw material. The ecosystem creates a perfect circular economy solution.

Betolar has developed a low-carbon cement alternative utilizing industrial side streams. The Geoprime solution brings immediate reductions in CO2 emissions without significant changes in the manufacturing process. Betolar is developing a recipe-optimizing artificial intelligence and data platform that will bring together concrete manufacturers and side stream producers.

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