Selective recovery of precious metals from e-waste


Because of the growing amount of disposed e-waste worldwide, there is an emerging need for clean small-scale technologies for recycling of this waste. The economic driving force for e-waste recycling is the recovery of precious metals like gold and silver.

The aim of this PhD research is to develop a process for the selective recovery of these metals, primarily gold, from Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). The recovery of the metals in solution will be performed by electrodeposition.

In the first stage a model solution is determined as a starting point for consistent electrodeposition experiments.  In the meantime the main process parameters are investigated, like optimal potential range, pH, temperature.

In the next stage, a modular electrochemical flow cell is designed and constructed and further optimized to conduct the electrodeposition in an efficient and economical manner.

Eventually the electrochemical flow cell will be tested with actual e-waste leachate to assess the effectivity and efficiency of the process to deposit the desired metals from a more complex solution.