Recovery of valuable metals

Bioleaching - recovery of valuable metals from anthropogenic deposits

The University of Duisberg Essen, VITO, University of Limerick and CTP worked together on the recovery of valuable metals from anthropogenic deposits in a bid to develop methods which would allow an economical use of valuable metals.

During the investigations samples were shared with the three partners to combine technologies and compare results of different technologies. CTP grinded electronic waste as a pre-treatment and the University of Limerick performed a pyrolysis with this material. VITO carried out chemical leaching tests with these samples and compared the results with biological leaching results.

Experiments were carried out to directly compare chemical and biological leaching potential. Biological leaching was successfully applied to recover valuable metals from waste, with comparatively low demand for energy and chemicals.

It is expected that bioleaching could be used as a pre-treatment to obtain a solution of biological leachable metals with a smaller amount of contaminants. This might reduce the costs of chemical leaching.

Find out more about our transnational co-operation projects