Strategic and precious metals (SPMs) are being increasingly used in new products e.g. homogeneous catalysts; pharmaceuticals etc. Recycling of precious metals has traditionally been performed using pyrometallurgical techniques which are very energy intensive; or hydrometallurgical techniques which involve strong chemicals. These techniques, however, are limited because they do not provide the degree of separation required. Further refining is then required. This proposal suggests a bioelectrochemical technique which is capable of selectively recovering the key precious metals e.g. Pt , Pd, Ru and Rh. The process could be operated to produce zero waste. The recovered metals will be of high purity enabling a recycling of scrap to fine chemicals in one clean and efficient process. It is estimated that there are currently 20 tonnes/year of precious metals in spent autocatalysts alone providing a key market for this technology.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
B15 2TT Birmingham