At the University of Edinburgh, a Scottish research team has demonstrated a new process for recovering gold from e-waste. The process consists of a specially engineered compound that separates gold from its surrounding materials.
According to the researchers, up to seven percent of the world’s gold could be contained in e-waste, and they hope that their process will help keep gold above ground and reduce carbon emissions and other dangerous environmental impacts that gold-mining creates.
Forbes has more information:
The practice of using tiny amounts of conductive gold in our millions of printed circuit boards has already sent a precious chunk of the world’s total gold stores into its landfills and, despite our best recycling efforts, out of our reach. Now, a Scottish research team plans to get it back.
University of Edinburgh scientists recently demonstrated a new process for recovering gold from discarded electronics with a specially engineered compound that separates it from surrounding materials, and which is safer and more effective at the task than any previous methods. Their study involved submerging printed circuit boards in “mild acid” to dissolve all metal parts, after which researchers added an “oily liquid containing the team’s chemical compound,” which allows them to then selectively extract gold from the broken-down mixture of metals.