Germans consume about 200 kilograms of raw materials per person each day according to the Federal Ministry of the Environment (Umweltbundesamt). Which means Germans are in first place. This not only damages the environment it is also dangerous for Germany's international competiveness. As a country poor in raw materials, Germany must commit to comprehensive resource conservation. New and efficient recycling methods are one option by which to become more independent of imported raw materials that are expensive and in short supply. Fraunhofer experts have established important principles for consistent recycling and circular manufacturing in the advanced Molecular Sorting for Resource Efficiency project. They will be presenting new methods at IFAT that facilitate the recycling of precious metals, rare earths, glass, wood, concrete, and also phosphorus.
Recycling 2.0 perfect separation
"The separation processes take place initially at the smallest level required, i.e. we go down to the molecular or even atomic levels," explains the project's coordinator, Professor Jrg Woidasky from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal near Karlsruhe, Germany. One example is the bioleaching process being developed and readied for commercial use at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, Germany. Even small quantities of precious metals or rare earths can be recovered with the technique. The researchers utilize microorganisms to convert insoluble metallic compounds in ores, in combustion slag, or in scrap wood saturated with metallic salts into water-soluble salts. The dissolved metals can subsequently be chemically bound using specialized polymers and thereby selectively removed from the solution. The metals are separated in a third step.
Experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Wrzburg, Germany, are working on a process to extract valuable
|Contact: Dr.-Ing. Jörg Woidasky|