Precious metals are used extensively as components in electronics devices, as catalysts in a wide range of industrial chemical processes and as autocatalysts for cutting vehicle pollutions. The quantities of platinum group metals (PGM) in catalysts are higher than in the richest ore bodies. However, the world recovery of PGM from spent catalysts remains low. This is the consequence of problems related to difficulties in the field of the collection procedures and the separation of the catalysts from the metallic and ceramic substrates as well as with a variety of difficult technical challenges that confront the hydrometallurgical recovery processes. They include the presence of various contaminants (Cu, Fe, Pb, Cr, Zn, etc.); the presence of large quantities of refractory materials (cordierite, a-alumina, CeO2); the use of highly aggressive and corrosive reagents and the production of large quantities of liquid and solid wastes. Nevertheless, due to continuous growth of the cost of precious metals, such as platinum, palladium, rhodium and scantiness of the natural resources of these metals has made their recovery from spent catalysts and electronic components a viable and cost effective alternative of their preparation.
There is large number of methods of recovery of PGM by using ion-exchangers, hydrometallurgical, pyrometallurgical and electrochemical methods, precipitation, cyanide leaching, organic complexation, etc.
EcoAtom Co. proposes to create the new efficient electro-hydrometallurgical process for recovery of precious metals from various spent articles and materials containing these metals (catalysts, electronic components, end-of life mobile phones, used lithium-ion batteries, etc.) and manufacture the large-scale plant for the production and use of platinum group metals