ION4RAW: Eco-Friendly Solution for Metal Extraction

The backbone of countless everyday products, from smartphones to renewable energy technologies, lies in critical raw materials such as cobalt, germanium, and platinum group metals. Recognizing their pivotal role, the European Commission champions projects dedicated to recovering these crucial materials. At the forefront of this endeavor stands the EU-funded ION4RAW project, which spearheads a paradigm shift towards a more sustainable and efficient method of extracting metals from primary resources.

It breaks away from traditional hydrometallurgical processes that often rely on toxic substances detrimental to the environment. The core methodology is centered around leaching with deep eutectic solvent (DES) ionic liquids and electrorecovery. These DES compounds is characterized by their eco-friendliness and chemical stability. Their composition includes Lewis and Brønsted acids with varying melting temperatures, enabling tailored formulations for diverse metal retrieval.

 The process significantly reduces energy consumption, utilizing non-flammable solvents to ensure a safer and healthier extraction method. Moreover, its cost-effectiveness positions it as a viable choice for mining and mineral processing companies. However, the transition from laboratory success to large-scale implementation still poses challenges for the technology.

Source: The European Commission