Precious Metal Recovery from Low Concentration Solvent Waste Streams in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Homogeneous catalysts are often thought to be uneconomical to extract from liquid waste streams, especially at low concentrations in solvents, due to the difficult nature of the extraction and the traditional high costs of the recovery process.
R.S.Bruce have worked closely with both Pharmaceutical and Fine Chemical Manufacturers and have developed equipment and techniques that are enabling the recovery of previously unrecoverable precious metals.
One example is a pharmaceutical company with an organic solvent waste stream containing dissolved Palladium. The stream is DMF (DiMethylFormamide) and the metal concentration is circa 120mg/l. Due to the dissolved nature of the metal and its low concentration other methods of recovery are not economically viable.
The liquid had previously been incinerated as a waste and, therefore, the metal value had been lost. Using ION Exchange principles, a process was developed at R S Bruce to recover the value from the waste. The actual recovery was performed as the liquor was being transferred from the road tankers into the disposal facility. This loss had already been factored into the production costs, so the first £350,000 we recovered was a welcome return!
- Purpose-built filtration columns charged with Ion Exchange Media
- Incorporating pre-filters and PID controls of flow rates, pressure, heating and cooling.
- In-process metal analysis capabilities ensure optimal recoveries.
Using the techniques and materials that we have developed we are able to recover PGM group metals from many diverse bulk liquid waste streams. This work can be undertaken on the client’s site, at a 3rd party site or at our site here in Sheffield. The secret is how we have been able to make the recovery cost effective, when in the past others have tried and recovery costs have outweighed the value recovered. We have successfully recovered metal economically at concentrations below 80ppm from corrosive, flammable liquids and have returned hundreds of thousands of pounds to the client.
Please note that, although we are located in the heart of the UK, we are a truly global operator and regularly travel the globe performing our magic.