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Issue 4, 2015
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Electrocatalytic recovery of elements from complex mixtures using deep eutectic solvents

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Abstract

The dissolution and subsequent selective recovery of elements from complex mixtures naturally necessitates redox chemistry. The majority of processes involve hydrometallurgical dissolution followed by selective chemical precipitation or electrochemical winning. The atom and energy efficiencies of these processes are poor, leading to a large volume of aqueous waste which needs to be treated before disposal. In this study it is demonstrated that electrocatalysis is an atom effective method of carrying out digestion and subsequently recovering elements from solution. Here, deep eutectic solvents are used to simplify the speciation of solutes and to allow redox potentials to be modified, compared to standard aqueous values. The redox catalyst used is iodine, as it demonstrates high solubility, fast electron transfer and the ability to oxidise most elements, including precious metals such as gold. The efficacy of this electrocatalytic method is demonstrated using three samples; Cu/Zn, Ga/As and Au/Ag/sulfidic ore.

Graphical abstract: Electrocatalytic recovery of elements from complex mixtures using deep eutectic solvents

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
17 Nov 2014
Accepted
15 Dec 2014
First published
15 Dec 2014

Green Chem., 2015,17, 2172-2179
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Electrocatalytic recovery of elements from complex mixtures using deep eutectic solvents

A. P. Abbott, R. C. Harris, F. Holyoak, G. Frisch, J. Hartley and G. R. T. Jenkin, Green Chem., 2015, 17, 2172
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC02246G

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