Low-Cost, High-Value Metal Recovery from Electronics Waste to Increase Recycling and Reduce Environmental Impact
This project seeks to adapt relatively low-cost and low-energy leaching technologies to directly recover copper and precious metals from e-waste. This approach will enable the recovery of these metals from the mixed metals and plastics streams from e-waste and also enable recovery of the plastics. This technology could replace energy-intensive pyrometallurgical processes such as high-temperature smelting that might otherwise be used to recover metals, but due to the high-temperature the plastics are consumed.
Utilizing these less energy-intensive and lower-cost technologies will provide the economic incentive to dramatically increase e-waste recycling by as much as 20%. The potential energy and emissions reduction are estimated at 21PJ per year and 1.2 million MT of CO2eq per year.