Element Recovery and Sustainability

Overview

Increased consumption of electronic equipment has brought with it a greater demand for rare earth elements and metals. Adding to this is the growth in low carbon technologies such as hybrid fuel vehicles. It is predicted that the global supply of rare earth elements could soon be exhausted.

A sustainable approach to the use and recovery of rare earth elements is needed, and this book addresses the political, economic and research agendas concerning them. The problem is discussed...

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Overview

Increased consumption of electronic equipment has brought with it a greater demand for rare earth elements and metals. Adding to this is the growth in low carbon technologies such as hybrid fuel vehicles. It is predicted that the global supply of rare earth elements could soon be exhausted.

A sustainable approach to the use and recovery of rare earth elements is needed, and this book addresses the political, economic and research agendas concerning them. The problem is discussed thoroughly and a multi-disciplinary team of authors from the chemistry, engineering and biotechnology sectors presents a range of solutions, from traditional metallurgical methods to innovations in biotechnology. Case studies add value to the theory presented, and indirect targets for recovery, such as municipal waste and combustion ash are considered.

This book will be essential reading for researchers in academia and industry tackling sustainable element recovery, as well as postgraduate students in chemistry, engineering and biotechnology. Environmental scientists and policy makers will also benefit from reading about potential benefits of recovery from waste streams.

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Editorial Reviews

Current Green Chemistry - Dr György Keglevich
Element Recovery and Sustainability” deals with an interesting side of green chemistry. Even green chemists rarely consider sustainability in respect of the use of the elements. It is predicted that the global supply of elements regarded as critical could soon be exhausted. The first chapter gives an overview of the issue of elemental sustainability and the recovery of scarce elements. It is a real problem that “low carbon technologies” that are utilized by electric cars, energy saving light bulbs, fuel cells and catalytic converters require the use of rare and precious metals. The reader will encounter the critical elements, the expected trends, and the possible solutions of the problems involved.
Then the possibilities for elemental recovery are shown by integrating traditional methods in a zero-waste recycling flow sheet. This may be exemplified by the combination of metallurgy with special waste treatments. “Ionometallurgy”, meaning the processing of metals with ionic liquids, is a new technology. Ionic liquids may be used effectively for the extraction and digestion of metal-containing wastes as sources. It seems to be probable that hybrid systems of molecular and ionic components may provide the optimum separation capabilities. Biomass resources represent a serious capacity for utilization also as biosorbents. Biomass, with highly complex biological structures, may surely be utilised for water remediation in respect of the clean-up of water and the recovery of metals.This new possibility is to be developed in the forthcoming years. Another new technology, “phytoextraction” is based on the fact that plants can tolerate, or even accumulate quite high concentrations of metals (eg. nickel or gold). For example, heavy metal-contaminated soils may be cleaned up in this way, but waste rock, contaminated land or low-grade ore, may also be the sources. The recovery of the “f-block elements” comprising the 4f series (the lanthanides, cerium to lutetium) and the 5f series (the actinides, thorium to lawrencium) represents a special challenge. The majority of these elements, particularly the lanthanides, are used in up-to-date products/technologies, such as in flat-screen televisions, hybrid cars and nuclear power production. The “f-block elements” may be extracted by special techniques including the use of P=O and/or P=S compounds. Ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium and platinum are among the rarest elements; still, these elements find a wide range of industrial and consumer applications including their use in catalytic converters and as catalysts, in electronics, and in biomedical devices and anticancer drugs. Reliable analyses show that in the industrial sector not much more development is possible, to minimise further the loss of the platinum group elements. However, improvements are warranted in the end-use applications by increasing the recycling rate. The next chapter is closely connected to the previous one in discussing the importance of waste electronic and electrical equipment recovery. The manufacture of mobile phones and personal computers utilises significant amounts of gold, silver, palladium, cobalt and indium, underlining the importance of recycling these elements from “urban mines”. Substitution of the current materials is also a prospective possibility. The last chapter compares the advantages of the “circular economy” against the “linear economy”. Considering the increasing consumption of materials, the latter “throw away” approach can no longer be tolerated. The population of the world needs a better knowledge and analysis of the flow of resources into products and their flow into waste. Solutions and examples are shown e.g. from the car industry.
This book shows a sustainable approach to the use and recovery of the critical elements that are needed. The multi-disciplinary team of authors, including chemists, engineers and biotechnological specialists presents good means for the solution of problems, illustrated via examples. The book is warmly recommended to researchers in academia and industry who are committed to any kind of chemistry utilising rare and precious metals in any form. The contents of this book may also be useful at any level of university courses for students.

György Keglevich
Department of Organic Chemistry and Technology
Budapest University of Technology and Economy

Current Green Chemistry - György Keglevich
It is a real problem that “low carbon technologies” that are utilized by electric cars, energy saving light bulbs, fuel cells and catalytic converters require the use of rare and precious metals. The reader will encounter the critical elements, the expected trends, and the possible solutions of the problems involved.

This book shows a sustainable approach to the use and recovery of the critical elements that are needed. The multi-disciplinary team of authors, including chemists, engineers and biotechnological specialists presents good means for the solution of problems, illustrated via examples. The book is warmly recommended to researchers in academia and industry who are committed to any kind of chemistry utilising rare and precious metals in any form. The contents of this book may also be useful at any level of university courses for students.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781849736169
  • Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry, The
  • Publication date: 11/30/2013
  • Series: RSC Green Chemistry Series , #22
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Prof. James Clark is a graduate of Kings College (BSc, PhD).  He is currently Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) at the University of York (UK). James has led the Green Chemistry movement in Europe for the last 12 years having established both the world's leading scientific journal on the subject Green Chemistry, and the world's largest private membership network, the Green Chemistry Network. James has published over 400 research articles and edited or authored some 20 books.  He has won numerous awards and distinctions including the Royal Society of Chemistry John Jeyes medal, the Society of Chemical Industry Environment medal, the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce and EU Better Environment Awards, and the Prince of Wales Award for Innovation.

Andrew Hunt joined the Chemistry Centre of Excellence at University of York in 2001 as an M.Sc. student after he had obtained his first degree in Chemistry from Swansea University. On gaining a distinction for M.Sc. degree he went on to complete his Ph.D. on the extraction of high-value chemicals from British upland plants. Post-doctoral experience has included research on a project on the extraction of liquid crystals and other valuable components from waste electrical and electronic equipment with supercritical carbon dioxide, funded by the UK government. This successful project was awarded a Rushlight Waste Recycling Award for the most significant technological or innovative development in the field of recycling waste. His other research interests include secondary metabolites extraction, materials chemistry (utilization of waste residues), the applications of supercritical fluids, mesoporous carbons (Starbons) and their use in biosorption for metal recovery.

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Table of Contents

Elemental Sustainability and the Importance of Scarce Element Recovery; Integration of Traditional Methods for Elemental Recovery in a Zero-Waste Recyling Flow Sheet; Ionometallurgy (Ionic Liquids in Metallurgy); Biosorption of Elements; Hyperaccumulation by Plants; Anthropospheric Losses of Platinum-Group Elements; F-Block Elements Recovery; WEEE Waste Recovery; Mining Municipal Waste: Prospective for Elemental Recovery

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