Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The recycling spent nickel catalysts could be both profitable and environmentally friendly

07.07.2011
The recycling spent nickel catalysts could be both profitable and environmentally friendly

In Southeast Asia, palm oil is used both as an ingredient for cooking and a raw material for biodiesel production. To stabilize the oil against decomposition, it has to be hydrogenated in the presence of a nickel catalyst that modifies its physical and chemical properties. Eventually, the nickel catalyst becomes contaminated by residual fats, oils and other chemicals, rendering it unusable.

Qizhen Yang and co-workers at the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) have now shown that these spent nickel catalysts could be recovered in a manner that is not only safe and environmentally friendly, but which could also generate considerable profits for recycling companies.

“There is increasing concern over the sustainability of new recycling technologies and processes,” explains Yang. “Traditionally spent catalysts, which have a commercial value, would be used as raw materials for nickel smelting. What attracted the recyclers for implementing this new process is the fact that the recovery of pure nickel would deliver more added market value, and that the process would be greener and more socially responsible, making it more sustainable.”

Many methods of recycling nickel catalysts have been attempted, including chemical leaching, roasting, electrolysis and bioleaching with microorganisms. The SIMTech researchers propose a combination of technologies: the catalyst is first roasted to remove residual impurities, producing an ash containing large amounts of nickel and nickel oxide; the ash is then subject to acid leaching, acid separation, nickel enrichment and finally deposition of the metal from solution.

These steps constitute a ‘closed-loop’ process whereby many of the byproducts, including the acid, plating solutions and dilution water, can be reused to minimize waste. On weighing the costs of materials, equipment and labor against the potential market conditions, the researchers showed that a small nickel recovery plant of this sort would be economically viable if the price of nickel is more than $12.57 per kilogram—a very realistic target.

The researchers also analyzed the carbon footprint of the operation and showed that its greenhouse gas emissions could be minimized through the use of efficient processing techniques and by sourcing green electricity. Finally, given that the process would create jobs and produce no toxic waste, it could certainly be a socially sustainable solution.

“Our industrial partners are now implementing the process in a new nickel recovery facility,” says Yang. “They are using our sustainability assessment results to understand what factors affect the sustainability of their processes and to help them justify the decisions they make in recovering nickel from waste.”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology

References

Yang, Q.Z., Qi, G.J., Low, H.C. & Song, B. Sustainable recovery of nickel from spent hydrogenation catalyst: economics, emissions and wastes assessment. Journal of Cleaner Production 19, 365–375 (2011).

Lee Swee Heng | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/research/6354
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>