A resource-efficient Europe is generally seen as one of the solutions to boost economic performance while reducing resource use. It creates new opportunities for economic growth and innovations and will ensure the supply of essential resources whilst limiting their environmental impact. The priority resources most commonly reported by EU countries are energy carriers and waste, followed by minerals, raw materials and water. One of the measures that have been defined for delivering the transition towards a resource-efficient Europe is the strategy to make the EU a ‘circular economy’ based on recycling with the aim of reducing waste generation and using waste as a resource. Hence, turning waste into a resource is one of the key elements defined in the Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiative on “A Resource Efficient Europe”.
Recently many countries look to reduce their reliance on imports by exploiting the metal that is present in waste. A lot of attention is given to metal recovery through recycling of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE). It is indeed striking that up to 150 g of gold can be recovered from each ton of recovered cell phone circuit, while one ton of gold ore only yields 5 g of gold. However, the prospect of urban mining extends much further than reclaiming solely electronic scrap.
Technologies are therefore needed that reduce operating costs, eliminate labour-intensive operations, and make it possible to process resources that are considered to be low-grade with respect to their contents of non-ferrous metals. In particular, the use of sorption- and extraction-based technologies has a lot of potential. One of the challenges is to expand the actual reserves of non-ferrous and critical metals, by considering actual waste as a potential resource similar to natural ores.
The goal of this project is to apply and develop hydrometallurgical extraction techniques on mineral waste materials, such as ashes, sludges, slags. By doing so, valuable metals need to be extracted in a most efficient way, while the environmental quality of the remaining matrix material improves significantly. Furthermore, an evaluation of techniques enabling the selective recovery of metals from the extraction fluid will be made based on experimental research. The focus of the research lies on one selected mineral waste material. An economic and life cycle assessment is made throughout the project to select the most promising routes. This research will finally lead to a demonstrator (a case study for the relevant waste metal recovery process).
The post-doctoral fellow is expected to conduct research within the experienced and well-equipped research team "Waste Recycling Technologies" of VITO's Sustainable Materials Management (SuMAT) unit, to develop and advance material processing techniques. The Waste Recycling Technologies team of VITO provides a clear view on recovered resources for both industry and government. Using innovative approaches and a thorough knowledge, they strive towards a sustainable transformation of waste into high-quality products which contributes to the green economy whilst closing material cycles.
The topic of the proposed post-doc fits within the national and international (European, FP7,...) projects in which the Waste Recycling Technologies research team is involved.
For this subject, no vacant position is currently available. However, VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research wishes to support young people with the preparation of their application for a pre- or postdoctoral research mandate. For this subject, the following granting channel is suggested:
The Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) is looking for candidates interested in a post doc position (2 years). The candidates are expected to have a proven strong chemical and/or metallurgical knowledge. Knowledge of the candidates on waste treatment can be advantageous but is not a requisite. VITO will help those candidates in preparing a Marie Curie proposal. The call for Marie Curie intra-European fellowships for career development (IEF), with a deadline of 2013/08/14 is now open, more information:
Generic EU Marie Curie Actions Eligibility Criteria: Applicants should be experience researchers and should not be either (I) a national of; or (II) resident for greater than 12 months of the last 3 years in the country of the host institution unless they have resided or carried out their main activity in the country of their host organisation more than 3 of the last 5 years.
Do you have a PhD in related research areas, a special interest in application oriented research and a good spirit for team work ?
Then contact us for more information:
VITO- vision on technology
T +32-14 56 33 56