Purification of critical metals by solvent extraction with ionic liquids in milliflow reactors
This project deals with the intensification of solvent extraction (liquid-liquid extraction) technology for small-volume, but high-value streams containing critical metals. To that end, research is performed on the chemical development and optimisation of solvent extraction systems in milliflow devices using ionic liquids. The advantages of such milliflow reactors for solvent extraction processes include large interfacial area per unit volume, shorter diffusion lengths, improved mixing effects by the formation of internal vortices and better heat transfer. The use of ionic liquids results in higher separation factors and hence easier separation. The work will be performed on two case-studies: the separation of platinum/palladium/rhodium and the purification of germanium. The project results will enable to increase the efficiency and sustainability of separation processes in the materials and chemical industry.