Centre for Sustainable Materials Processing

Materials Chemist Awarded Prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship

The Materials Centre has recently welcomed Dr Rodolfo Marin Rivera, who has been granted a Marie Curie Individual fellowship to carry out research in the field of process engineering for sustainable recovery of valuable metals by ELECTRO-IONometallurgy. The project is being developed with Professor Andy Abbott’s group.

At present, conventional technologies for mineral processing and metal recovery depend on the utilisation of fossil fuels such as oil, coal or natural gas as energy sources, but they also require toxic and environmental harmful chemical reagents such as mercury or cyanide. These can have adverse effect on the environment and human health as consequence of high greenhouse gas emissions, and the generation of large volumes of solid and liquid waste residues. ELECTROION, however, can allow development of more energy-efficient and eco-friendly processes to recover metals, because it makes use of cheap, renewable and biodegradable ionic solvents, which can be used to efficiently and economically recover metals directly from solid compounds. Ionic solvents have already demonstrated promising results to separate a variety of metals from different sources, but due to the lack of knowledge on how to recover and/or to re-use these solvents, their application at an industrial scale is still questionable. The ELECTROION project will strive to change this through engineering and technology development, which could lead to recovery of metals from other different sources. This could also lead to new collaborations with other research institutions and industries.

The ELECTROION project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101026159.

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