Veolia and EDF explore turning waste into glass

Waste management company Veolia and energy firm EDF announced yesterday (30 November) that they are to partner on a 50/50 joint venture looking to turn waste into glass.

A picture provided by Veolia of the glass produced via the GeoMelt process

The partners say Waste2Glass will “take up the challenge” of the industrial deployment of Veolia’s GeoMelt technology, which will broaden and simplify the vitrification process for a wide range of waste types.

Vitrification is the transformation of a substance into glass. Up to now, the process has been reserved for highly radioactive waste, Veolia says, due to its “technical nature and cost”.

The creation of the Waste2Glass company is planned for early 2022. It will be based in Limay in north-central France, near a recently commissioned pilot unit that will carry out demonstrations and obtain the certifications required for the industrial deployment of the GeoMelt process.

Veolia says GeoMelt technology has already been used to treat 26,000 tonnes of radioactive and hazardous waste, mostly in the USA.

The waste management company says GeoMelt could become “a new benchmark solution for the treatment of complex waste”.

It claims GeoMelt offers advantages including a “relatively simple” industrial deployment; a significant reduction in waste volumes after treatment, especially compared to current immobilisation technologies using cementitious techniques; and an “extremely durable” matrix for conditioning.

Collaboration

Antoine Frérot, chairman and CEO of Veolia, said: “Our business and our purpose as a world leader of the ecological transformation is to offer innovative technologies and solutions for the management of complex waste such as hazardous and radioactive waste.

Antoine Frérot, Veolia’s chairman and CEO

“I am delighted that we have taken this further step in our collaboration with EDF with the creation of Waste2Glass.

“It will enable a real change of scale through the industrialisation of GeoMelt, which will make it possible to treat radioactive waste more safely and more economically, with a reduction in storage volumes.”

Veolia previously worked together with EDF two years ago on Graphitech, a joint venture dedicated to the development of solutions for the decommissioning of graphite-gas reactors.

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