On the design of a new electro-refining process for the recovery of magnesium from Used Beverage Can (UBC) aluminum alloys

There is actually a societal challenge here in north America regarding the end-of-life management of used beverage cans (UBCs). China is no longer accepting several of our recyclable waste streams like UBCs. UBCs are made of aluminum that contains some level of magnesium and manganese to modulate the properties of the body and the lid respectively. UBCs can potentially be seen as a great secondary feed for the production of pure magnesium used to manufacture for example critical components in the automotive industry. It is evaluated that about 40000 tons per year of magnesium could be obtained from this waste feed stream.
The ultimate objective of this work is to design an improved electro-refining process technology to recover magnesium from aluminum melt. More specifically, we want to decrease the energetic requirements by lowering the electrode inter-distances and adjust the chemistry of the electrolyte to meet modern environmental standards.

Francis Lebreux-Desilets
Superviseur universitaire: 
Jean-Philippe Harvey
Partner University: