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Bioleaching of valuable and hazardous metals from dry discharged incineration slag. An approach for metal recycling and pollutant elimination

: Auerbach, Romy; Ratering, Stefan; Bokelmann, Katrin; Gellermann, Carsten; Brämer, Thilo; Baumann, Renate; Schnell, Sylvia


Journal of environmental management 232 (2019), S.428-437
ISSN: 0301-4797
Fraunhofer ISC ()
Fraunhofer IWKS ()
Bioleaching; Wertmetalle; Schadstoffabbau; Schlacke; recycling

Recycling of process wastes will be in future an essential step to meet the demands for valuable metals of a growing market. Depending on their particle sizes incineration slags are already used to recover metals but particle size fractions below 4 mm are still difficult to recycle. Therefore, different particle size fractions (mesh size 2 and 4 mm, high energy grinded) of dry discharged slags were used for bioleaching with and without the pure cultures Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans or Leptospirillum ferrooxidans or a mixture of Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans in batch cultures. Regarding Al, Cr, Cu, Ni, Mn and the rare earth elements Ce, La and Er, bioleaching was significantly more successful with iron oxidizing bacteria compared to abiotic controls. Metal mobilization for Al, Cu, Mn, Cr and Er with bacteria was between 70 and 100% and for Ce, Ni and La around 50% almost after 7 days, making an industrial application for the high concentrated metals like Al and Cu feasible. In addition to the recovery of valuable metals, a reduction in cost of landfilling was identified. After treatment of the slag with the microorganisms, concentrations of harmful substances in the residues could be reduced and thus a classification in lower safety levels regarding the LAGA or EU regulations was calculated.