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1. (WO1998051829) ALUMINUM SCRAP CLEANING AND DECARBONIZATION
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What is claimed is:

1. A process for recovering aluminum from aluminum scrap which contains a carbon-containing coating comprising:

(a) treating aluminum scrap which contains a carbon-containing coating with hot water to remove hot water removable contaminants from the aluminum scrap thereby producing a treated aluminum scrap;

(b) in an essentially combustion-product-gas free environment, volatilizing the carbon-containing coating on the treated aluminum scrap with superheated steam thereby producing a decarbonized aluminum scrap and a gaseous mixture which comprises a carbon-containing volatile produced from the carbon-containing coating and spent steam;

(c) separating the carbon-containing volatile from the gaseous mixture and decarbonized aluminum scrap into a stream which is essentially combustion-product-gas free; and

(d) recovering the decarbonized aluminum scrap.

2. The process of claim 1, wherein the treating of the aluminum scrap with hot water and the volatilizing of the carbon-containing coating with the superheated steam are conducted at negative gauge pressures.

3. The process of claim 1, wherein the process is a continuous flow process and wherein the superheated steam and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other.

4. The process of claim 1, further comprising minimizing entry of ambient air into the process at aluminum scrap entry to the process and at decarbonized aluminum scrap removal from the process.

5. The process of claim 1, further comprising introducing the aluminum scrap through a water seal into the process before the treating of the aluminum scrap with hot water.

6. The process of claim 1, wherein the hot water has a temperature from about 200°F (93°C) to about 212°F (100°C), and the superheated steam has a temperature from about 900°F (482°C) to about 1100°F (593°C).

7. The process of claim 1, wherein the recovery of the decarbonized aluminum scrap is through a water seal.

8. The process of claim 1, further comprising filtering the hot water to remove contaminants thereby producing a filtered hot water; and
rinsing the treated aluminum scrap with the filtered hot water and before the volatilizing of the carbon-containing coating.

9. The process of claim 8, wherein the process is a continuous flow process and wherein the filtered hot water and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other.

10. The process of claim 1, further comprising cooling and filtering the hot water to remove contaminants thereby producing a filtered warm water; and
forming a condensate from the spent steam in the gaseous mixture by contacting the gaseous mixture with the filtered warm water.

11. The process of claim 10, wherein the process is a continuous flow process and wherein the filtered warm water and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other.

12. The process of claim 10, further comprising separating and using the condensate as the hot water for the treating of the aluminum scrap.

13. The process of claim 1, further comprising combusting the carbon- containing volatile in the stream, and venting the combusted stream to the environment.

14. The process of claim 1, further comprising minimizing oxidation of ' aluminum content of the aluminum scrap prior to treating it with the hot water.

15. The process of claim 1, further comprising minimizing oxidation of aluminum content of the decarbonized aluminum scrap prior to melting it.

16. A process for recovering aluminum from aluminum scrap which contains a carbon-containing coating comprising:

(a) washing aluminum scrap which contains a carbon-containing coating with hot water in a wash zone to remove hot water removable contaminants from the aluminum scrap thereby producing a treated aluminum scrap;

(b) in an essentially combustion-product-gas free environment, volatilizing the carbon-containing coating on the treated aluminum scrap by contacting with superheated steam in a volatilizing zone thereby producing a decarbonized aluminum scrap and a gaseous mixture which comprises a carbon-containing volatile produced from the carbon-containing coating and spent steam;

(c) removing hot water from the wash zone and cooling and filtering the removed hot water in a cooling-filtering zone to remove contaminants thereby producing a filtered warm water;

(d) removing the gaseous mixture from the volatilizing zone and contacting the gaseous mixture with the filtered warm water in a condensing zone thereby forming a condensate from the spent steam in the gaseous mixture and a second gaseous mixture which contains the carbon-containing volatile;

(e) separating the condensate from the second gaseous mixture in a gas- liquid separation zone, and forming a condensate stream and a second gaseous stream which contains the carbon-containing volatile and which is also essentially combustion-product-gas free;

(f) recycling the condensate stream to the wash zone; and

(g) recovering the decarbonized aluminum scrap from the volatilizing zone.

17. The process of claim 16, wherein the process is a continuous flow process and wherein the superheated steam and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other in the volatilizing zone.

18. The process of claim 17, wherein the filtered warm water and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other in the condensing zone.

19. The process of claim 16, further comprising removing and filtering in a filtering zone the hot water from the wash zone to remove contaminants thereby producing a filtered hot water; and
rinsing the treated aluminum scrap from the wash zone with the filtered hot water in a rinsing zone, and using the rinsed aluminum scrap as the treated aluminum scrap contacted with the superheated steam in the volatilizing zone.

20. The process of claim 19, wherein the process is a continuous flow process, wherein the filtered hot water and the treated aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other in the rinsing zone;
wherein the filtered warm water and the rinsed aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other in the condensing zone; and
wherein the superheated steam and the rinsed aluminum scrap flow countercurrently to each other in the volatilizing zone.

21. The process of claim 16, further comprising introducing the aluminum scrap through a water seal before washing the aluminum scrap in the wash zone, and wherein the recovery of the separated decarbonized aluminum scrap from the volatilizing zone is through a water seal.