Thursday September 12th, 2019

SUPERMET Project: One-Year Update

SUPERMET process (copyright ICGM)

This European project to recuperate and recycle precious metals from spent catalysts presents its first results.

Promising results in the recycling of precious metals from spent catalysts

Just one year after its launch, the SUPERMET project has made progress towards the development of a new technique to recuperate precious metals from spent catalysts. At the General Assembly on May 21st, the project’s partners confirmed that both scientific and dissemination activities are on schedule.

SUPERMET’s main technical challenge is to develop and test new copolymers as additives in the extraction of the metals using supercritical CO2 as the extraction medium. The five partners have spent this first year selecting and characterising both new and spent catalysts containing palladium and platinum. In addition, a broad range of copolymers have been synthesised and tested in the extraction medium. The initial tests with supercritical CO2 and combining selected copolymers with catalysts showed promising extraction results. In the second year of the project, the process will be optimised and the results validated.

An important role for a Montpellier research team

Five partners are involved in the SUPERMET project, including three research institutes, a German technology company, and a French association. The coordinator is Dr. Patrick Lacroix-Desmazes, a researcher in the Charles Gerhardt Institute of Montpellier that is one of the components of the Chimie Balard Cirimat Carnot institute. He and his team have expertise in controlled polymerisation techniques and extensive experience with polymers in supercritical CO2, which is being applied in the SUPERMET project.

The official name of the project is “Recovery of Precious Metals from Spent Catalysts by Supercritical CO2 Extraction Assisted by Polymers”. The project was a laureate of the ERA-MIN 2 call for proposals and is co-funded by the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union. SUPERMET proposes to explore a disruptive eco-friendly technology for the recycling of precious metals, especially palladium and platinum, from spent catalysts such as petrochemistry catalysts by extracting the metals in supercritical CO2 using complexing polymers.

Initial results presented to the scientific community

The partners of the SUPERMET project have participated in a number of scientific meetings, presenting the results obtained during this first year. In December 2018 the coordinator was at the French National Scientific Days on Supercritical Fluids. Last spring different partners participated in the 5th International Symposium on Green Chemistry, the European Polymer Congress, the International Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy and a meeting of the International Polymer Colloids Group.

This fall project participants will be at the Supergreen 2019 event in China, the 14th Carbon Dioxide Summit in Germany and at Polymat 2019 in Mexico.

Learn more about the SUPERMET Project

Check out the SUPERMET website