Monday, May 20, 2024

Harvesting Untarnished Gold By Converting E-Waste Into Valuables

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A fibrous adsorbent selectively retrieves high-purity gold from waste, reducing costs, and time, and enabling mass production and repeated recycling.

Korea relies heavily on imported metal resources, leading to a shift towards circular resources due to resource depletion and rising raw material prices. SK hynix and Samsung Electronics are actively working to increase metal recovery and reuse from waste streams. The global circular economy market is expected to grow significantly, reaching an estimated $712 billion by 2026.

Dr. Jae-Woo Choi’s team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has developed a technology for high-purity gold recovery from electronic waste using textile materials. Fiber-like materials offer better control and versatility compared to traditional granular adsorbents, which can be challenging to manage underwater and lead to secondary pollution.

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The innovation involves chemically immobilizing alkaline molecules onto polyacrylonitrile (PANF) fibers, increasing both gold recovery efficiency and structural stability. This approach improves gold ion adsorption performance by up to 2.5 times compared to previous methods.

The fibrous adsorbent achieves over 99.9% gold recovery efficiency in real CPU leachate solutions and maintains purity even in the presence of coexisting metal ions. It also retains a 91% recovery rate after ten cycles, highlighting its reusability.

Dr. Jae-Woo Choi sees this technology as a way to reduce Korea’s reliance on resource imports and manage risks associated with volatile raw material prices. Dr. Youngkyun Jung plans to expand research to target various metals, furthering the impact of this eco-friendly approach.

This advancement could revolutionize Korea’s metal resource management, paving the way for a sustainable future amid global resource challenges.

Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Gaur
Akanksha Sondhi Gaur is a journalist at EFY. She has a German patent and brings a robust blend of 7 years of industrial & academic prowess to the table. Passionate about electronics, she has penned numerous research papers showcasing her expertise and keen insight.

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