MRT™ products and processes are essential to ensuring sustainable growth of the green revolution, providing life-saving medical treatment, achieving circular economy in the extraction, use and recycling of critical and technology metals and responsibly treating environmental wastes.
“The transition to a net-zero economy will be metal-intensive. As the move toward cleaner technologies progresses, the metals and mining sector will be put to the test: it will need to provide the vast quantities of raw materials required for the energy transition…Metals and mining companies will be expected to grow faster – and more clearly – than ever before.”
The raw-materials challenge: how the metals and mining sector will be at the core of enabling the energy transition, McKinsey & Co., January, 2022.
Sample projects are given below involving some of IBC’s markets and applications. Click to view details:
The DLP™ process is disruptive, has a minimal carbon footprint, and produces battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate directly from the brine at much lower production costs than current methods, without the necessity to first produce lithium carbonate. The DLP™ process can also produce lithium carbonate directly from the brine, if desired. The lithium-depleted brine is injected back into the salar minimizing environmental damage. Pilot demonstration is occurring in 2022 at the Salar de Maricunga in Chile by SIMCO, a JV between Chilean Errázuriz Group (55%) and Taiwanese Simbalik Group (45%), in cooperation with the Japanese company Chori.
Refining and recycling of precious metals by highly efficient and cost-effective SuperLig® MRT™ systems reduce the need for obtaining new metals by mining and replacing processing steps in conventional metal refining processes that consume excess energy and pollute the environment.
A strong candidate for energy production in the coming decades is the green hydrogen economy. Central to this economy are Membrane Electrode Assemblies (MEA) that contain iridium, ruthenium, and platinum catalysts used to produce hydrogen from water.
MRT™ is used for purification of palladium-103 in the manufacture of brachytherapy seeds at Theragenics Corporation, for use in treatment of prostate cancer. The MRT™ process eliminates steps, reagents, and waste production inherent in other separation processes providing a circular economy and palladium sustainability.
Sulfuric acid is used to recover bismuth from the column as a bismuth bisulfate product of high purity that can be sold to offset operational costs. The sulfuric acid is recycled. No waste is produced in this sustainable, circular process. In 2009, the ASARCO Amarillo, Texas copper refinery switched from an inefficient ion exchange process to an efficient and clean MRT™ process for copper purification. From January 2010 through 2015, the amount of bismuth in copper anodes processed by the MRT™ system at ASARCO ranged from 1,360 kg to 5,900 kg per month.
Separation and recovery of critical metals from waste streams at the site of generation have the potential to save enormous quantities of these precious resources that now go to waste. For example, an on-site MRT™ modular unit is used by SepraMet to separate palladium (Pd) from tin/palladium activator drag-out baths at plating on plastics (POP) lines. The unit is returned to SepraMet where the palladium is refined and the module is returned to the customer’s site to be reloaded with palladium. This cyclic process, which can be repeated indefinitely, exemplifies a circular economy leading to palladium sustainability.