Junior Research Group: BioKollekt

Metal scrap ©Copyright: pixabay.com

Almost 50 million tons  of e-waste per year are produced worldwide, Photo: pixabay.com

BioKollekt is a novel separation process that extracts metals from scrap, process waste or primary raw material mixtures using specially designed biological collectors. The method aims at enabling the cost- and energy-efficient recycling of complex mixtures, and more specifically fine particles.

From residual to recoverable

Circular economy strives for the longest possible use of products and raw materials. That in practice translates into avoiding waste by reusing and repairing existing products. If not possible, products should be recycled and turned back into raw materials. However, oftentimes the economic recovery of metals from very fine particles is not possible. Fine particles for example occur in fluorescent powder of energy-saving lamps or dusts created from precious metals processing and contain valuable metals such as the rare earth elements terbium, yttrium or lanthanum. Rare earths are extremely difficult to separate due to their almost identical chemical and physical properties and comparatively low concentrations. That is the reason why their recycling rates are rather low - e.g. lanthanum (1 %).  

Innovative concepts such as developed by the BioKollekt junior research group may help to transform scrap and process waste into an important source of raw materials for the high-tech industry. Moreover, it is worth the effort: 44,700,000 tons of e-waste has been dumbed worldwide in 2016 only - as much as almost 4,500 Eiffel Towers.

About BioKollekt

How does BioKollekt work Advantages for industry
Current research activities Team
Foto: Gruppenbild BioKollekt ©Copyright: HZDR/Detlev Müller

Source: HZDR/Detlev Müller