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Evaluation of a rare earth metal recovery route from electronic waste

Grant number: 22/01159-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2022
Effective date (End): March 31, 2026
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Denise Crocce Romano Espinosa
Grantee:Fernanda Fajardo Nacif Petraglia
Host Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/11866-5 - Development of innovative processes for the recovery of critical metals, AP.TEM


New technological areas have been improved over the years with the use of more efficient and specific materials for certain functions. This is the case of rare earth elements, an crucial raw material in the current technological, ecological, petrochemical and military market. According to the IUPAC definition, rare earth metals are 17 elements of the periodic table: the group of lanthanides and the elements scandium (Sc) and yttrium (Y). The primary extraction of rare earths is a critical issue, given that, in addition to environmental conditions being questionable in extraction, in recent years the main and hegemonic producer country of this raw material is reducing quotas for other countries and imposing taxes of embargo on the sale of metal outside China. In such a way that the group of rare earths was listed as a raw material of risk by the European Union. For this reason, new sources of rare earths need to be found and the recycling is one that appears as an important resource to recover and reuse this raw material in new devices. Disposal and recycling are important stages of the materials cycle in order to reintroduce into the manufacturing process from another component. Research in this area is being carried out using various devices as a secondary source of rare earth elements between them has fluorescent lights, Ni-MH batteries, computer monitors, petrochemical industry catalytic cracking catalysts, magnets permanently on computers and mobile phones. In this project, it is proposed the development of a route for the recovery of rare earth metals from obsolete electronic waste. In addition to evaluating the possible presence of mercury from electronic waste and removal to avoid environmental contamination. Different hydrometallurgical methods will be evaluated in search of the most suitable for the recovery of metals. (AU)

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