US funds research into improved metals recycling
A U.S government-funded consortium is exploring new techniques for recovering more materials from metals reprocessing.
ILA company Gopher Resource has joined a consortium which is made up of research institutes and higher education, with funding from the U.S. Department of Defence, following President Biden’s order from 2021 to identify and address potential risks to the country’s supply chain.
As a member of the consortium, Gopher Resource will leverage its expertise to facilitate seven projects focused on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction, critical metals recovery, and waste minimization. These efforts will support nearshoring of the supply chain in the United States, by developing recycling technologies for recovering critical metals with improved environmental standards.
Gopher’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Joseph Grogan, said: “The issues of supply chain security and circularity had unanimous support from everyone we talked to when setting up this consortium. We’re excited to partner with world-class research institutes on this important initiative to secure critical raw materials by developing advanced methods that minimize waste and promote sustainable practices.”
To date, the consortium has received more than $15 million in Congressional funding with more than $5 million secured for the projects Gopher Resource will be facilitating.
The first project, already underway, is using advanced heat transfer technology from the solar energy industry to recover waste heat during the recycling process, making it more energy efficient. For the second project, Gopher Resource is working with the University of Minnesota Natural Resource Research Institute to study the use of charcoal from biomass as an alternative to fossil fuels. The goal is to create a sustainable supply chain that would reduce Gopher Resource’s carbon footprint by up to 30 per cent. Future projects will focus on advancing the fundamentals of critical metals recovery and waste minimization, including finding new product uses for slag and recovering acid from batteries.