Inderscience Publishers

Assessment of the ecological sustainability of pyrometallurgical copper extraction

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The present investigation is an attempt at assessing the ecological sustainability of one of the most popular technologies for pyrometallurgical copper production, namely Outokumpu's flash smelting method. The real operating installation in Umicore-Pirdop, Bulgaria has served as a model flowchart. The assessment has been made using the exergy method of thermodynamic analysis. The exergy of renewable and non-renewable resources, used in the process, the energy technological efficiency of the principal chemical technological stages and of the overall system as well as the anthropogenic emissions in the environment have been calculated. The results obtained have been used in determining the ecological sustainability coefficient with the respective value of 0.0596.

Keywords: ecological sustainability, exergy analysis, exergy efficiency, improvement potential, pyrometallurgical copper production, renewability, flash smelting

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