“We have been most successful with gold so far, but we’ll be working to recover other rare metals too”, commented Olli Salmi, Research Professor at VTT, adding that the processes relied on organic chemistry and ionic liquids to dissolve the gold particulates and form complexes.
In other VTT experiments, the researchers were able to recover more than 90% of the metal solution dissolved from a circuit board with the help of functional ionic liquid.
These results stem from the European “Value from Waste” project of the research consortium AERTO (Associated European Research and Technology Organizations), initiated two years ago. The Finnish lab developed both biological and mechanical pre-treatment methods for a more efficient and more sustainable recovery of precious metals from electronic waste. Its findings could enable the metal refining industry to use cleaner electronic waste in larger amounts.
VTT participated in joint technology R&D with the following six European research institutes: Fraunhofer ICT and Umsicht (Germany), CEA (France), TNO (the Netherlands), SINTEF (Norway), Tecnalia (Spain) and SP (Sweden). The project was co-ordinated by SINTEF from Norway.
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