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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/W018632/1
Title Technology critical metal recycling using ultrasonics and catalytic etchants
Status Started
Energy Categories Other Cross-Cutting Technologies or Research 20%;
Renewable Energy Sources(Solar Energy, Photovoltaics) 5%;
Not Energy Related 75%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 10%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) 10%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 80%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor A Abbott

University of Leicester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 April 2022
End Date 31 March 2025
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £970,125
Industrial Sectors Electronics; Manufacturing
Region East Midlands
Programme Manufacturing : Manufacturing
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor A Abbott , Chemistry, University of Leicester (99.995%)
  Other Investigator Dr J Kettle , Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Dr P Prentice , Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Dr A Feeney , College of Science and Engineering, University of Glasgow (0.001%)
Professor G Jenkin , Sch of Geog, Geol & the Environmen, University of Leicester (0.001%)
Professor KS Ryder , Chemistry, University of Leicester (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , European Thermodynamics Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Circular Resources Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Future Industrial Services Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Technology critical metals (TCMs) are an essential distinct subset of specialist, often 'critical' metals, and each has its own specific properties. They are fundamental enablers of most major applications throughout industry and especially in clean energy and digital technologies, and they are essential for the world to decarbonise. The demand for TCMs is growing, and a wider range of materials and a circular economy approach are needed for the emerging technologies that will enable the energy transition and net zero aims. The UK is currently 100% import-reliant on TCMs and so it is essential to recycle these metals and develop a circular economy. Unfortunately these metals are diffusely distributed and maintaining value is difficult with current non-selective hydrometallurgical techniques. The vision of this research proposal centres on the use of targeted, catalytic etchants which can control the redox state of TCMs from complex architectures. This project will target layered structures such as photovoltaic and thermoelectric devices although it could equally be applied to a variety of other structures such as printed circuit boards and composites, particularly those of significant value to industries such as aerospace or wind renewables. The novelty of this project lies in combining catalytic etchants with ultrasonic techniques to bring about almost instantaneous separation and enable selective, fast-throughput processes to be developed. This project aims to develop a range of sustainable, inexpensive catalysts which can preferably be regenerated using air emulating what is done in a biological and geological environment. Practical recycling solutions need to be rapid and efficient and the secret to doing this for metals is to increase mass transport and change speciation. This project addresses the former using focussed ultrasound and the latter using novel ambient temperature ionic fluids

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Added to Database 19/10/22