This week I focused mainly on some specific extraction methods for PCBs. The methods I looked at were in an attempt to learn more about processes that can offer recovery of metals at a cheaper rate or in a more environmentally friendly manner.
To start, I looked at electro-conductivity technology. This technique focuses on separating materials based on their conductivity. Three main methods studied are the eddy current separation, the corona electrostatic separation, and the triboelectric separation. These processes are used depending on the differences in conductivities of the metals, where efficiency depends on rotor speed, particle size, moisture content, and electrodes. Another extraction method I looked into was ionometallurgy, ionic liquids, and deep eutectic solvents. Although my colleague worked on Ionometallurgy and ionic liquids before, I laid some more foundation and knowledge on the topic by looking into ionic liquids in general, as well as the recovery of metals from lithium-ion batteries from DES. For the lithium-ion battery recoveries, I read about various eutectic mixtures of acids that are used for the recovery of these metals, as well as how DES can be recycled. Lastly, I looked into the slurry electrolysis extraction method. This method combines leaching and electrodeposition steps in order to recover metals from PCBs in powdered form.
Throughout the week I also focused on contacting and following up with several companies. These companies include; Johnson Matthey, Umicore, and GER Solutions. I will continue to contact different companies in the E-waste field in order to set up possible visits and learn more about E-waste recycling.