Austrade and Regain: Taking aluminium waste management solutions to the world

With Austrade by their side through their export journey, Regain, a pioneering recycling firm based in Newcastle, Australia, has found global customers though its innovative approach to managing toxic waste generated by the aluminum industry.

Aluminium 24

Aluminium and its products play a vital role in Australia's economy, supporting industries such as manufacturing, construction, engineering transportation, aerospace, and infrastructure development. Australia also produces aluminium alloys and ingots for further processing into various products or for export to other markets.

But what of the waste?

Specializing in the detoxification of residues like spent pot lining from aluminium smelters, Newcastle based company Regain has developed an advanced technology that not only mitigates environmental hazards but also contributes to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The company's journey began in the 1990s, prompted by the environmental challenges posed by toxic residues. Partnering with the Eduardo Torroja Institute of Construction Science in Spain, Regain embarked on a mission to transform these hazardous materials into a valuable resource for the cement industry.

"We aimed to turn toxic pot lining into a chemical product for the cement industry," Bernie Cooper, Managing Director of Regain Services explains, with the process producing the dual benefits of waste diversion from landfills and emissions reduction in cement manufacturing.

Regain's innovative solution, HiCAL, derived from sodium fluoride in spent pot lining, has attracted international attention. Its adoption by cement makers has led to a significant 5-10% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, a substantial stride towards environmental sustainability in the sector.

The company's success extends beyond Australia's borders, with exports of its technology and HiCAL product reaching 19 countries across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and North Africa. Cooper proudly said, "We were the first company in the world to commercialize the use of sodium fluoride chemicals from aluminium smelting to reduce GHG emissions in the cement industry - and to do it on an industrial scale."

Austrade, Australia's trade and investment promotion agency, has played a pivotal role in supporting Regain since 2009, when the company first ventured into the Chinese market with its HiCAL product. Over the years, Austrade advisors have been instrumental in facilitating Regain's expansion into multiple new markets across Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Their help has been particularly valuable in navigating the complexities of international trade regulations and gaining certifications for HiCAL.

Local Austrade advisors stationed in each target country can supply invaluable insights into local business culture and government requirements.

Do you lead a proven enterprise looking to relocate or expand? Are you an entrepreneur with an innovative, cutting-edge startup set to take the world by storm?

Austrade will assess the eligibility of your registered business for Austrade support based on your capacity to:

  • invest significantly in Australia
  • create large numbers of Australian jobs
  • drive cutting-edge R&D to deliver new technologies and IP
  • grow future-facing industries
  • increase Australia’s economic and supply chain resilience.
  • meet responsible business standards.

To contact Austrade to discuss how they can help your business penetrate overseas markets, go to their website here.

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