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Biodismantling, a Novel Application of Bioleaching in Recycling of Electronic Wastes

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Microbiology, Institute of Biosciences, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Leipziger Straße 29, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
2
Biology and Ecology, Institute of Biosciences, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Leipziger Straße 29, 09599 Freiberg, Germany
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Recycling 2020, 5(3), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/recycling5030022
Received: 30 June 2020 / Revised: 1 September 2020 / Accepted: 4 September 2020 / Published: 15 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Metal Recycling within a Circular Economy)
Electronic components (EC) from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as resistors, capacitors, diodes and integrated circuits are a subassembly of printed circuit boards (PCB). They contain a variety of economically valuable elements e.g., tantalum, palladium, gold, and rare earth elements. However, until recently there has been no systematic dismantling and recycling of the EC to satisfy the demand for raw materials. A problem connected with the recycling of the EC is the removal of the components (dismantling) in order to recover the elements in later processing steps. The aim of the present study was to develop a new technique of dismantling using bioleaching technology to lower costs and environmental impact. In triplicate batch experiments, used PCBs were treated by bioleaching using an iron-oxidizing mixed culture largely dominated by Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans strains supplemented with 20 mM ferrous iron sulfate at pH 1.8 and 30 °C for 20 days. Abiotic controls were treated by similar conditions in two different variations: 20 mM of Fe2+ and 15 mM of Fe3+. After 20 days, successful dismantling was obtained in both the bioleaching and the Fe3+ control batch. The control with Fe2+ did not show a significant effect. The bioleaching condition presented a lower rate of dismantling which can partially be explained by a constantly higher redox potential leading to a competition of solder leaching and copper leaching from the printed copper wires. The results showed that biodismantling—dismantling using bioleaching—is possible and can be a new unit operation of the recycling process to maximize the recovery of valuable metals from PCBs. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioleaching; e-waste; recycling; WEEE; PCB; biodismantling; components; rare earth elements; critical raw materials bioleaching; e-waste; recycling; WEEE; PCB; biodismantling; components; rare earth elements; critical raw materials
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MDPI and ACS Style

Monneron-Enaud, B.; Wiche, O.; Schlömann, M. Biodismantling, a Novel Application of Bioleaching in Recycling of Electronic Wastes. Recycling 2020, 5, 22.

AMA Style

Monneron-Enaud B, Wiche O, Schlömann M. Biodismantling, a Novel Application of Bioleaching in Recycling of Electronic Wastes. Recycling. 2020; 5(3):22.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Monneron-Enaud, Benjamin; Wiche, Oliver; Schlömann, Michael. 2020. "Biodismantling, a Novel Application of Bioleaching in Recycling of Electronic Wastes" Recycling 5, no. 3: 22.

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