Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion (Hydro)
The research group of Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion focus on enabling sustainable living for the future generations, by research focusing on nonferrous metal processing and true circular economy of metals. The group utilises hydrometallurgical and electrochemical means for the recovery of metals and precious materials, development of electrolysis processes, study of corrosion prevention and development of recovery methods for secondary raw materials. The group is dedicated in the combination of theoretical understanding with practical application for the development of industrial processes in a circular economy. Furthermore, the research group provides an in-depth knowledge of related innovative technologies that support Aalto University’s related Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering master (Major: Sustainable metals processing) and doctoral level studies.
Key topics include:
- Leaching and recovery processes
- Electrolysis processes
- Modelling and process simulation (including LCA)
- Raw material efficiency
- Non-ferrous metals, special focus in Cu, Au, REEs
- Utilization of secondary raw materials (battery waste, WEEE, slags, residues, and waste waters etc.)
- Development of electrochemical measuring methods
- Corrosion prevention and failure analysis
Our current research topics include cyanide-free leaching methods of gold (e.g., chloride leaching), copper corrosion in groundwater, copper electrolysis, properties and impurities of copper electrolyte, pressure leaching and characterization of copper anode slimes. In addition, important Circular Economic research includes the leaching of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)/spent battery waste/solar panel waste, recovery of valuable elements from industrial solutions as well as the sustainable preparation of novel materials like copper – carbon nanotube composites and cellulose-based coatings.
As a research group of hydrometallurgy and corrosion, we have a well-equipped laboratory with leaching reactors and continuous leaching station with small-scale OKTOP® reactors and autoclave (Büchi ecoclave 075). We have electrochemical measuring equipment including several potentiostats, power sources, batch reactors (up to cascade leaching in 3-litre reactors), Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance (EQCM) equipment (SRS QCM 200), equipment for characterization of solid raw materials, equipment for sample preparation, as well as Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) and other analytical equipment. Furthermore, being part of Aalto University and RawMaterials infra funded by Academy of Finland also provides access to a wide-range of additional equipment such as particle size analyzer, SEM-EDS/WDS, XRD, AFM, BET and ICP-OES, to support research.
Our scientific strategy is to increase the understanding and knowledge from the molecule level scale via the macro to industrial scale processes based on the key principles of sustainable development and circular economy.
The project aims to develop efficient ways of gold leaching in cyanide free chloride solutions.
The research of BioPolyMet combines two of Finland’s main industrial sectors – Forestry (forest derived products) and the Metal industry by exploring the use of cellulosic based materials as new type of sustainable metal coating. This coating can result in improved hydrophobic or hydrophilic surface layers, improved printability, a replacement of Teflon as non-fingerprint coating, a replacement of PVC as wear resistant coating, esthetical new surfaces and increased bio content in the coatings to mention just a few. Emphasis is placed on an in depth understanding of the proposed materials under electrophoretic coating conditions that will allow for rapid upscaling and early industrial adoption. Work will be carried out on this project as a joint collaboration between Mari Lundström's research group of Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion and Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems (Prof. Herbert Sixta, Biorefineries).
The aim of the project is to boost the understanding of circular economy and material loops to enable development of material and process technologies regarding secondary raw material.
Circular Metal Ecosystem (CMEco) is a project bringing together Finnish industrial and academic partners in order to research the recovery of metals from different types of secondary raw materials. The project aims to reveled recovery of metals from metallurgical process related solids, such as leach residues, anode slimes and slags. Additionally, new mechanical, hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical methods are developed and existing processes are optimized in order to recover valuable, base and critical and metals from secondary raw materials such as Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and incineration plant residues like waste incineration bottom ash (IBA), thus bringing new circular economy business to Finland. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop new CleanTech and Circular economy business to Finland with improved metals recovery and impurity removal from process related solids such as leach residues, anode slimes, crud and slag, containing metals.
Interest in the recycling of NdFeB permanent magnets is increasing due to the need to recycle critical elements. The EU has classified neodymium and other rare earth elements as critical due to their high supply risk and economic significance in tech applications. Thus, this project is focused on selective recovery of select rare earths by hydrometallurgical and pyrometallurgical means.
Producing cellulosic textile fibers from dissolving pulp in an environmentally friendly process.
The project is focused on processing of jarosite ores and precious metal recovery from leaching waste.
The topic of research for KYT project is on the corrosion of nuclear waste capsules in oxygen-free ground water.
The project focuses on the recovery of critical elements from electronic waste streams, including raw materials and the final product. Currently, only 1 % of critical elements in EU are recycled and this number must go up to ensure availability of critical raw material for industries.
METSEK project aims to develop efficient methods of hydrometallurgical metal recovery from secondary sources.
The project is funded by European Institute of Innovation & Technology to develop business and technical synergy between European raw materials producers.
The goal of the project is to efficiently recover precious metals from low quality waste solutions and produce high quality functional surfaces from these waste streams.
This project focuses on cyanide-free gold leaching processes. Experimental research, process modelling, life-cycle analysis, and artificial intelligence are combined to produce new information about the environmental impacts of alternative gold production methods.
The project aim is to increase recovery of metals from waste electronic equipment.