Planning, construction and operation of a demonstration plant to recycle acids containing HF

© InVerTec

Fluorite is classified by the European Union as a critical raw material. About half of this precious mineral is used to produce hydrofluoric acid, which is used in various industries: It is an auxiliary material in the semiconductor, metal and glass industries, is used to etch microelectronic silicon wafers and glass, to pickle stainless steel and for alkylation in the petrochemical industry. Hydrofluoric acid is considered non-replaceable or only partly replaceable in these sectors.

The “FCycle” project recycles hydrofluoric acid, removing this dangerous substance from waste flows and the environment. In the process, hydrofluoric acid is turned back into fluorite. The recovered mineral is easier and more cost-efficient to transport to the users than the acid. Furthermore, it can then be used to produce hydrofluoric acid again. This makes the project an innovation in both economic and ecological terms. It creates a closed, resource-efficient loop.

The forerunner project developed a process (patent pending) to transform residue flows containing fluoride into synthetic fluorite in a cost- and energy-efficient way and recycle this directly as a secondary raw material for value added processes. The objective of the follow-up project is to scale up the method that has been successfully tested in the laboratory to a demonstration plant. Over the course of the three-year project, a plant will be constructed and tested to manufacture fluorite with a capacity of up to 900 metric tonnes per year.  

The project consortium is made up of three partners and is being coordinated by the company Dyneon GmbH. The second industrial partner is Fluorchemie Stulln GmbH. The demonstration plant will be tested on their premises. The scientific partner is the Institute InVerTec e.V.