A feasibility study for titanium recycling in South Africa

Durr, Johan Frederik Wilhelm (2016-12)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study, the possibility of titanium recycling in South Africa is explored. Inspired by recent beneficiation processes for the production of titanium from South Africa's vast mineral resources, this study identified the opportunity to create sustainable value from the inevitable influx of scrap, once these beneficiation strategies have been implemented. The objectives were to research all methods capable of recycling titanium, map their process chains, and model them financially. Furthermore, a feasibility framework was to be created, which serves the purpose of showing when each recycling method becomes financially feasible. Finally, a business case was to be created after choosing the best recycling alternative in South Africa at the time of the study. A background study was done at Hansens Engineering in Port Elizabeth, to gain insight into a state-of-the-art waste-to-resource process through their in-house aluminium recycling operations. Eight methods of recycling titanium are identified in the literature review, namely washing and briquetting swarf, precision casting, thermal degreasing, ferrotitanium production, vacuum-arc remelting (VAR), electron beam cold hearth melting (EB CHM), plasma arc cold hearth melting (PA CHM) and mill product production. Each process is modelled financially, by use of a factorial method, which utilises equipment, operating labour, waste treatment, utilities and raw material costs as input variables to estimate total fixed capital investment and total manufacturing costs. A ten-year NPV analysis on each process is done, which is used to conduct the feasibility study, which consists of break-even analysis, scenario analysis, and the creation of the feasibility framework. The break-even analysis determines the yearly volume of scrap required to make each recycling method financially feasible. By use of this, the feasibility framework is created. The break-even volumes are contextualised by use of benchmark components. This is used to represent the break-even points of each recycling method in terms of an amount of components, as opposed to a volume of titanium scrap. The financial feasibility models are also used to perform scenario analysis using pessimistic and optimistic hypothetical swarf availabilities, based on South African titanium trade statistics. Based on the collective feasibility study results, it is found that only two of the eight recycling processes are financially feasible at present, namely washing and briquetting swarf, and precision casting. The best option for recycling titanium at present is identified as precision casting, which shows a positive NPV of R650.55 million and R81.96 million in the optimistic and pessimistic hypothetical scrap availabilities, respectively. Uncertainty analysis is performed on this process through the use of Monte-Carlo simulation. Input variables are varied over probable ranges, or by fitting distributions on historical data, to predict the probability of having a positive NPV after the analysis period. The results showed that when recycling titanium through precision casting, one can be almost 99% certain of having a positive NPV after ten years, when implementing either a 150% fixed profit margin or a selling price of R1000 per casting. By this, a business case for titanium recycling in South Africa is created.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie word die moontlikheid van titaan herwinning in Suid-Afrika ondersoek. Genïspireer deur onlangse waardetoevoegingsprosesse vir die produksie van titaan uit minerale hulpbronne in Suid-Afrika, identifiseer hierdie studie die geleentheid om volhoubare waarde te skep uit die onvermydelike instroming van skroot, wanneer hierdie waardetoevoegings strategieë in werking gestel word. Die doelstellings was om al die metodes wat beskikbaar is om titaan te herwin te identifiseer, hul proses kettings op te teken, en hul finansieel te modelleer. Verder is 'n haalbaarheidsraamwerk geskep, met die doel om uit te beeld wanneer elke herwinningsproses finansieel haalbaar raak. 'n Besigheidsgeleentheid is geskep vir die beste herwinningsalternatief in Suid-Afrika in die huidige klimaat van die Suid-Afrikaanse titaanindustrie. 'n Agtergrondstudie is gedoen by Hansens Engineering in Port Elizabeth, om insig te kry in 'n moderne afval-tot-hulpbron proses, waar hulle binnenshuis aluminium herwin. Agt metodes van titaan herwinning is geïdentifiseer in die literatuurstudie, naamlik was-en-"briquette", "precision casting", "thermal degreasing", ferrotitaan produksie, "vacuum-arc remelting" (VAR), electron beam cold hearth melting" (EB CHM), "plasma arc cold hearth melting" (PA CHM) en "mill product" produksie. Elke proses is finansieel gemodelleer, deur die gebruik van 'n faktoriale metode, wat insette gebruik in die vorm van toerusting-, arbeids-, afval behandeling-, water- en eletrisiteits- en grondstofkoste om die totale vastekapitaalbelegging en totale produksiekoste te beraam. 'n Tien jaar NHW-analise op elke proses is gedoen, wat gebruik word om die haalbaarheidstudie uit te voer. Die haalbaarheidstudie bestaan uit 'n gelykbreek analise, scenario analise en die ontwikkeling van die haalbaarheidsraamwerk. The gelykbreek analise bepaal die volume skroot benodig om elke herwinningsproses finansieel haalbaar te maak. Dié analise word dan ook gebruik om die haalbaarheidsraamwerk op te stel. The gelykbreek punte vir elke proses word gekontekstualiseer deur middel van maatstafkomponente. Dit beeld die gelykbreekpunte van elke proses uit as 'n aantal komponente, in plaas van 'n volume skroot. Die finansiële haalbaarheidsmodelle word ook gebruik om 'n scenario analise uit te voer met behulp van pessimistiese en optimistiese hipotetiese skroot beskikbaarhede, gebaseer op Suid-Afrikaanse titanium skroot handelstatistieke. Op grond van die gesamentlike lewensvatbaarheidstudie resultate, is daar gevind dat slegs twee van die agt herwinningsprosesse huidiglik finansieel haalbaar is, naamlike die was-en-'briquette" proses en "precision casting". Die beste opsie vir herwinning van titaan op die oomblik is geïdentifiseer as "precision casting", wat 'n positiewe NHW van R650.55-miljoen en R81.96-miljoen vir optimistiese en pessimistiese hipotetiese skroot beskikbaarhede toon. Onsekerheidsontleding is op hierdie proses toegepas deur die gebruik van 'n Monte-Carlo simulasie. Insetveranderlikes word gewissel oor hul waarskynlike reekse of deur distribusies op hulle historiese data te pas. Die waarkynlikheid van 'n positiewe NHW na die tien-jaar tydperk kan dan bepaal word. Die resultate het getoon dat daar byna 'n 99% waarskynlikheid is van 'n positiewe NHW na tien jaar, wanneer die simulasie 'n winsmarge van 150% of 'n vaste verkoopprys van R1000 per eindproduk het. Deur middel van dié simulasie, is 'n besigheidsgeleentheid vir titaan herwinning in Suid-Afrika geskep.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100156
This item appears in the following collections: