Waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) as a potential source for the recovery of rare earth elements through bioleaching

Gonzalez Baez, Alejandra ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4657-4988, Pantoja Munoz, Leonardo, Garelick, Hemda ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4568-2300 and Purchase, Diane ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8071-4385 (2021) Waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) as a potential source for the recovery of rare earth elements through bioleaching. In: 17th International Conference on Environmental Science and Technology CEST2021, 01-04 Sep 2021, Athens, Greece. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract

Waste printed circuit boards (WPCBs) represent a significant proportion of electronic waste (e-waste), they contain hazardous components but also critical materials that are at high supply risk, like rare earth elements (REE), making this waste stream a suitable alternative for resources recovery.

The aim of this research is to investigate the recovery of REE from WPCBs using an environmentally friendly method, bioleaching, which exploits the ability of microorganisms to recover metal ions from the waste matrix. WPCBs were supplied by three local e-waste recycling companies after comminution process. Physical characterization and elemental analysis of the material revealed strong correlations between particle size and concentrations of REE. Particles below 0.5mm, significantly rich in REE, were used for bioleaching experiments. Following a two-step bioleaching process for 7 days at 28°C, with 1% (w/v) pulp density, two different fungal strains were able to leach up to 40% of Nd, Gd and Pr, and 20% of Dy, individually, almost doubled the leaching efficiency than the commercially available control strain. This research demonstrated the potential of WPCBs as a source of critical materials that have scarcely been recovered from this waste stream, such as REE. Furthermore, the application of bioleaching enhances the green credentials of material extraction from WPCBs.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences
Item ID: 33920
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Depositing User: Alejandra Gonzalez Baez
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2021 10:12
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:44
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/33920

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