MeteoR – mechanical-thermochemical process combinations for the recycling of fine fractions from waste treatment facilities

In waste treatment plants large quantities of fine fractions are generated. Due to their heterogeneity and properties, these fractions are currently not used although they contain a whole range of materials that represent valuable resources. The aim of the project MeteoR is to enable the utilization of all components (mineral, metallic, and combustible) of fine fractions by combining mechanical and thermochemical processes, to close material cycles and to significantly contribute to the further development of the Austrian circular economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Short Description

Fine fractions are ubiquitous in waste management. In Austria, the mechanical treatment of various waste streams (construction waste, municipal and commercial waste, waste incineration plant bottom ash, shredder residue processing plants) generates an estimated 1.9 million tons of various fine fractions annually, which corresponds to approx. 6.5 % of the total Austrian waste generation (excluding excavated soil). Despite this considerable amount, fine fractions are usually seen as an undesirable problematic fraction due to their heterogeneity, agglomeration tendency, or pollutant load, and are not reintroduced into material cycles, but are either incinerated and resulting residues are landfilled, or are directly deposited on landfills. However, fine fractions contain substantial amounts of materials that represent valuable resources and should be used as such. This poses a considerable challenge to recycling, since the dissipation of pollutants must be avoided. The motivation for the project is therefore to close material cycles of metals and mineral materials while simultaneously removing or immobilizing pollutants.

The aim and innovation of the MeteoR project is to reintegrate these large quantities of currently problematic fine fractions into material cycles and to use them as a resource, thus making a significant contribution to the further development of the circular economy and in a broader sense to the reduction of CO2 emissions in Austria.

Particularly, the following interdisciplinary approaches are being pursued:

  1. Characterization of fine fractions and mechanical processing for the production of recyclable concentrates, secondary raw materials, cement aggregates and pollutant-depleted substitute fuels for the cement industry;
  2. Testing of thermochemical treatment processes for fine fractions that cannot be further processed mechanically;
  3. Research on the slags resulting from thermochemical treatment and their suitability for the production of alternative binders (AAM), supplementary cementitious materials (with hydraulic reactivity);
  4. Removal/immobilization of pollutants;
  5. LCA of the investigated recovery routes as well as a systemic-waste-economic evaluation.

The innovation of the project is to test technology concepts to deliver all components of fine fractions (mineral, metallic, organic) to the highest quality and best possible recovery. Through the holistic, systemic approach, the project supports a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals and EU Green Deal targets. The desired results are experimentally confirmed technology concepts for the mechanical-thermochemical treatment of previously unusable fine fractions from waste treatment plants to close material cycles without pollutant spreading. The aim is to gain a fundamental understanding of the composition and utilization potential of fine fractions, the mobility of pollutants, their removability by mechanical processing and their immobilization by thermochemical processes or alkaline activation.

Project Partners

Project management

  • Dr.mont. Philipp Sedlazeck, MSc


  • Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Chair of Waste Processing Technology and Waste Management

Partners of the project consortium

  • Bernegger GmbH
  • FCC Austria Abfall Service AG
  • IFE Aufbereitungstechnik GmbH
  • Lafarge Zementwerke GmbH
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • Graz University of Technology

Contact Address

Dr.mont. Philipp Sedlazeck, MSc
Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Chair of Waste Processing Technology and Waste Management
Franz-Josef-Strasse 18
8700 Leoben, Austria
+43 3842 402-5111