Co-processing of coal mine and electronic wastes: Novel resources for a sustainable future
Many coal mines produce waste which causes acid mine drainage, an acidic metal-rich runoff which can result in severe environmental damage. This drainage can be treated, but most wastes will continue to produce such drainage for hundreds of years. Therefore, longer term, permanent solutions are needed.
At the same time, the pace of development in information technology means most electrical and electronic equipment becomes obsolete within a matter of years. This results in the generation of vast and growing quantities of electronic waste (e-waste) every year. Where this cannot be recycled, this must be discarded. Not only can this result in serious pollution of the environment, but it is also a waste of the valuable metals such material contains.
CEReS will co-process these two waste streams to produce metals and other valuable products while eliminating their environmental impact at the same time. This industrial ecology approach is key to supporting a circular economy while securing the sustainable supply of critical raw materials.