Project title: Pre-commercial pilot for the efficient recovery of Precious Metals from European end of life resources with novel low cost technologies
Funding programme: Horizon 2020
Action type: Innovation Action (IA)
Duration: 01/05/2021 – 30/04/2025
Overview of the PEACOC project
In Europe there are considerable amounts of end-of-life products containing Precious Metals. These products have vast potential for recycling. However, the current industrial recycling technologies such as smelting or hydrometallurgical processes used by the large recycling companies require high energy consumption and leave negative carbon footprint that harms both, the human health and the environment.
In this context PEACOC, an EU-funded project, aims at solving the current challenges that limit the recovery of Precious Metals at massive scale, while exploiting the vast potential of EU secondary resources. The project will research and demonstrate on a pre-commercial level, novel, effective, low-cost and environmentally friendly technologies for recovering gold, silver and Platinum Group Metals from complex waste mixtures. PEACOC aims at treating end-of-life products in Europe, including spent autocatalysts, low/mid-grade printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) (currently poorly valorised in the EU) and photovoltaic waste.
The project concept is based on previously-developed recovery and refining technologies to TRL5 in the frame of another H2020-funded research and innovation project, PLATIRUS. Some of the selected technologies from the PLATIRUS project, namely Microwave-assisted leaching, Gas-diffusion electrocrystallization (VITO) and Deep eutectic solvents (TECNALIA), for recycling and recovery of Platinum Group Metals will be further scaled up to TRL7 in the PEACOC project. They will be combined with other innovative concentration technologies as well as technologies for the valorisation of the waste that will be produced aiming at nearly zero-waste process.
- Setting up a new large-and-complete value chain of 19 partners to produce Precious Metals from end-of-life products available in Europe that are not recovered yet and estimated at:
- ~50 t Platinum Group Metals per year from unrecycled spent autocatalysts,
- ~30 t gold per year, ~10 t palladium per year, and ~100 t silver per year from unrecycled end-of-life printed circuit board assembly,
- ~ 720 t of silver expected in 2030 from emerging photovoltaic waste streams in Europe.
- Demonstrating new technologies to address the challenge of effectively and efficiently recovering low grade Precious Metals from complex waste matrices designed with a near zero-waste approach and a true circular economy mindset.
- Developing the first-in-kind pre-commercial compact, mobile and modular refining system at pilot scale with a production capacity of up to 2 kg of Precious Metals per week to expand the business of their recycling across Europe. Thus, allowing SMEs to exploit the recycling of end-of-life products and untapped resources.
- Designing and produce novel equipment at pre-commercial scale for Precious Metals refining by European SMEs.
- Easing the decision for investment in new production plants as potential investors will be able to lease and test the PEACOC solution at pre-commercial scale, without the need for prior large investments.
- Supporting the European Commission in reaching the ambitious energy and climate targets stated in the Green Deal. By demonstrating the use of recovered Precious Metals as catalysts for reducing emissions and for clean energy generation, it will minimize environmental impacts and risks, and gain the trust of the European communities in the raw materials sector.
- Promoting sustainability by developing valorisation and up-cycling strategies for all by-product associated with the recovery of Precious Metals.
Our involvement in the PEACOC project
Within the PEACOC project, PNO Innovation Belgium leads the development and implementation of the dissemination, communication and clustering strategy. In addition, PNO is also a key contributor in shaping the stakeholders engagement and exploitation tactics of the project. A particular focus is placed on identifying and engaging with relevant stakeholders for further exploitation activities, as well as market and business analysis to support the consortium into bringing the technologies available.