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PLATInum group metals Recovery Using Secondary raw materials

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PLATIRUS (PLATInum group metals Recovery Using Secondary raw materials)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2019-10-31

The PLATIRUS project builds on recent new developments in ionometallurgy, solvometallurgy and hydrometallurgy, showing the route to miniaturisation, higher levels of recovery yields, lower energy costs and environmental impacts (CO2 by 95% per kg of PGM) compared to the state-of-the-art, hence potentially boosting PGMs recycling levels, which are currently about 80-90% for industrial applications, 50-60% for autocatalysts and only 5-10% for electronics. The key objectives of the project are hence to boost the availability of PGMs in Europe by: 1. Further developing, testing, fine-tuning and selecting the best combination of advanced technologies in three promising and novel PGM recovery routes (1) Ionometallurgy & Solvometallurgy, 2) Advanced Hydrometallurgy, 3) Hydrometallurgy & Pyrometallurgy, based on the use of three actual PGM waste streams (Autocatalysts, Mining Tailings and slag, WEEE). 2. Upscaling the selected PGM recovery and raw material production process to a pre-industrial pilot. 3. Preparing and stimulating market introduction. To achieve objectives, five of the major CRM research centres in Europe, Tecnalia (ES), KUL (B), VUT (A), VITO (B) and SINTEF (NO), will collaborate in developing, benchmarking, selecting, fine tuning and piloting the most advanced recovery processes for PGMs. Two primary and secondary material producers with a consolidated business model, Boliden (NO) and Johnson Matthey (UK), will carry out validation of the innovative recovery processes by installing and testing them in an industrially relevant environment and benchmarking with the currently adopted recovery processes. Recycling company Monolithos (GR) will provide a link to market introduction by manufacturing autocatalysts with second life PGMs obtained via the PLATIRUS technology. Large automotive companies, Fiat (IT) and Ford (TR) will validate these catalysts, and ensure end-user industry driven value chains for recovered PGM materials. LCA, economic and environment assessment of the whole process will be carried out by SME Env-Aqua (UK) supported by Tecnalia and Fiat. Finally, the PLATIRUS project will be linked to European and extra-European relevant stakeholders, research activities and industries, with a solid dissemination, communication and
exploitation plan developed and carried out by PNO Innovation (BE).
"PLATIRUS has three phases, 1. R&I; 2. Selection and lab validation; 3. Validation in industrial environment and preparation of market deployment. During the first 36M period, consortium has mainly worked on phase 1 and phase 2 and has started performing phase 3.
Three promising and novel PGM recovery routes (1) Ionometallurgy & Solvometallurgy, 2) Advanced Hydrometallurgy, 3) Hydrometallurgy & Pyrometallurgy, for three waste streams (Autocatalysts, anode slime, WEEE)) were studied on phase 1 by R&D partners (TEC, VUT, KUL, VITO, SINTEF, JM). Routes 1 and 2 represents three separate WPs (WP3-Leaching, WP4-Separation, and WP5-Recovery) whereas route 3 represents WP5. The R&I work was finished for the three WPs (WP3, WP4 and WP5). The pre-selection of technologies was completed in M24 as MS4 (Pre-selection of the PLATIRUS technology) as per GA. VITO's ""Microwave assisted leaching"" in WP3 (leaching), KUL's ""Split-anion extraction with ionic liquids and stripping processes"" in WP4 (separation) and VITO's ""Gas-Diffusion Electrocrystallization (GDEx) process"" in WP5 (recovery) were pre-selected. This selection was done through a set of KPIs including higher yields, reduced cost, energy efficiency, reduced reaction time, miniaturization and lower environmental impact. From M24 onward, the selected processes were further fine-tuned and the compatibility between the technologies of the different WPs was assessed. The final selection of the PLATIRUS technologies was confirmed in M30 as MS5 (Final selection of the PLATIRUS technology) through a techno-economic and environmental assessment performed in WP7 by ENV. Final selected technologies were used for PLATIRUS flowsheet with the objectives of the production of PGMs and PGM nitrates. However, other technologies in routes 1 and 2 (ionometallurgy and solvometallurgy) were also further optimized based on KPIs until MS4 at M24 and MS5 at M30 and validated at lab-scale. WP6 partners have collaboratively developed and optimised the selected technologies to operate in an integrated flowsheet, analysed safety and design considerations and developed a programme for trials of the PLATIRUS flowsheet. They have also successfully cascaded milled autocatalysts material between the selected technologies, gaining vital scale-up data and process understanding, and with the aim of producing enough PGM product to enable the manufacture of small-scale catalysts, DOC and TWA. The further industrial validation of the selected processes is in-progress.
A Value Chains Stakeholders Analysis was realized by PNO, and a group of organizations (mostly industrial) were selected as potentially interesting to benefit from the technologies developed by PLATIRUS. The project results were presented to them and synergies with current processes were analyzed for potential market uptake. The potential use of some PLATIRUS technologies into a variety of novel ideas for the valorization of critical metals that are currently non-valorized in different primary and secondary waste streams was considered and spin-off projects to bring the technologies at higher TRL level have been discussed with different set of partners. Furthermore, a market analysis was done, analyzing and comparing the current and prospective markets of selected end of Life (EoL) products which have the potential to become feedstocks for PGM recovery at industrial scale.
Several clustering teleconferences were organized with projects coordinators that are in the same call topic of PLATIRUS."
The current major existing plants capable of recycling PGMs are based on a combination of pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical methods, involving high energy consumption and creating large volumes of liquid wastes that are dangerous for the environment, thus the benefit of having a recovery process is dramatically decreased. Therfeore, PLATIRUS’ claim that the novel integrated technologies and direct PGMs production route are technically and economically feasible will prove to be true, industrial investments into an actual European secondary PGM production sector within the upcoming 5 years are likely to increase. Starting from the autocatalysts and WEEE value chain, supply may be sourced from waste directly in Europe, dramatically mitigating Europe’s dependency on imports from Africa and Russia. Therefore, the use of PGM-abundant primary and secondary resources available in Europe as potential source of PGM metals suppliers to be used in new products is considered to be the most important outcome of the project. The project devoted to the recovery of PGMs and obtaining a new autocatalyst to be used in new vehicle from that recycled PGMs. Moreover, the consortium’s efforts will develop market data and business cases for a new European secondary PGM production sector, creating new jobs, increasing Europe’s independence from imports, and providing valuable raw materials for fast-growing European green technology industries. By accomplishing this, the project is not only fostering competitiveness, but resource efficiency and environmental benefits as well.
PLATIRUS Value Chain