Press Release

Waste management prize “Phoenix” 2024 goes to RHI Magnesita GmbH

30. Abril 2024

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On April 24, 2024, the “Phoenix” waste management prize was awarded for the 17th time as part of the Austrian Waste Management Conference at the Erste Campus in Vienna. SC Christian Holzer (BMK) presented the main prize to RHI Magnesita GmbH from Leoben, which also won the “Innovation” category with its “Project ReSoURCE”.

For the first time, the “Phoenix” was awarded in 3 categories: “Innovation”, “Communication” and “Best Project”. The jury, chaired by Prof. Roland Pomberger (Montanuniversität Leoben), evaluated the submitted projects according to the criteria of innovative character, waste management relevance and practical suitability. Two prize winners (1st and 2nd place) were selected in each of the three categories, and the main prize winner was chosen from the top-ranked projects. The prize money amounted to a total of 10,500 euros. The main prize is worth 3,000 euros, 1st place in each of the 3 categories 1,500 euros and 2nd place 1,000 euros. There were 58 submissions.

“Innovation” category

Waste management is an essential part of the circular economy. The Innovation Award recognizes research projects, new concepts and developments that further develop the contribution of waste management to the circular economy.

First place in the category and the 2024 Phoenix Main Prize went to RHI Magnesita GmbH (Leoben) for the project ReSoURCE

“On behalf of all the partners we are honored to receive this award” Technical project coordinator Alexander Leitner emphasizes. “This highlights our commitment towards developing cutting-edge technologies to set new sustainability standards for our industry.”

The ReSoURCE project aims to significantly increase recycling rates in the refractory industry using advanced technologies such as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging and artificial intelligence. Given the challenges posed by the diversity of products and raw materials, the project focuses on automation and digitalization to significantly improve the quantity, efficiency and quality of recycled materials. These innovations enable the efficient sorting of previously unusable material fractions and offer advantages in quality control. The developments contribute significantly to reducing the carbon footprint of refractory products and promote a more sustainable production method in the refractory industry and beyond.

“ReSoURCE was the best project in terms for research and innovation, and it will have a great impact in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions.” Emphasizes the chairman of the jury, Prof. Roland Pomberger.

The Phoenix is an initiative of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and the Austrian Water and Waste Management Association (ÖWAV). Further information & photo gallery from the award ceremony:

About project ReSoURCE

“Refractory Sorting Using Revolutionizing Classification Equipment” (ReSoURCE) project aims to ensure the green and digital transformation of the refractory recycling value chain. The automated sorting equipment developed in this project will increase the recycling of refractory breakout material from the current estimate of 7–30 percent worldwide (plus 10 percent of downcycling) to a total 90 percent. With approximately 32 million tons of spent refractories generated annually, the ecological and societal benefits will be considerable.  

Led by RHI Magnesita, ReSOURCE consortium consists of 9 members: LSA- Laser Analytical Systems & Automation GmbH, Fraunhofer ILT Institute for Laser Technology, SINTEF, Montanuniversität Leoben, InnoLas Laser GmbH, Norsk Elektro Optikk (NEO), Technology Innovation Catalyst CPI, and Crowdhelix Ltd. 

The project is funded by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) in the Horizon Europe Framework program (HORIZON). The total budget is 8.5 million euros, of which six million euros are funded by the EU, one million by the UK. The project’s duration is from June 2022 to November 2025 (42 months).  For more information please visit: