Recovery of lanthanides and other metals from WEEE

Publishable summary: 

Our vision is to extend the ability of collecting information and technologies interacting with several actors characterized by complementary skills in the very challenging topic of the Waste Electrical and Electronic recycle, supporting the EU vision of urban mining and circular economy by allowing to access information and processes up to know not available. This vision focused on the development of technologies for the recovery of strategic aterials, such as rare earths (REs), from the endoflife electrical and electronic equipment will allow to guarantee several key areas impacting our social life by reducing pollution, increasing personal safety and allowing green foundries involvement, with important economic benefits and lower costs for the community.

The presented Project aims to take the first steps towards developing and creating the base for this brand new generation science, technology, and processes for the efficient recovery of strategic materials and elements from WEEE (mainly endoflife fluorescent lamps). The strategy is to exploit the competences of five partners: two belonging to EU and three in Latin America. INTiBSPoland and CNRItaly are leading institutions in RE and novel materials research field, and the respective countries have developed appropriate policies for study and development of technologies for the recovery of strategic materials from e-waste. Argentina, Brazil, and Peru, represented here by three robust research groups related to prestigious institutions, have a direct and crucial interest in succeed in the methods and technology for the efficient recovery of strategic materials and elements from WEEE. The convergence of interests as well as the complementary and intermingled competences of the five partners involved in the project assure a successful coordination allowing an effective and impressive outcome.

The innovative concept is based on development of methodologies to extract REs (and other metals) from e-waste in order to allow efficient waste management and reintroduction economy of secondary raw materials. This breakthrough in material recovery is mandatory. In our long-term vision, this work will be seminal for a new kind of technologies and will generate important opportunities for the industrial world, opening new possibility not present at this time. The goal is to organize and exploit the skills of the intermingled institutions providing the transnational network with particular fabrication of advanced materials, process design, novel separation technologies, and characterization tools. In this sense, specific nanostructured materials for RE recovery and separation, physical, chemical and mechanical processes of e-waste treatment, and physicochemical analyses will be employed. There are no similar and broad approaches so far, so the work sounds completely new. The overall objective is therefore to change the strategic material recovery procedure in a way that will allow economic benefits without affecting the environment. The important aspects of RECOLA is also connected with the study and set up of methodologies for the characterization of secondary raw materials and the modeling of their textural and structural features to optimize processing and recovery in a more ecologically compatible urban mining activity. Country Research Institute Funding Organization Partner contributi