Precious Metal Catalyst Recovery
Precious metals are used extensively as catalysts in a wide range of industrial chemical processes. They can be used in a homogeneous form, but more commonly they are heterogeneous, i.e. they are fixed to a solid support for ease of handling. In many applications only a precious metal catalyst can provide the necessary speed or selectivity to the reaction, while in others these attributes, together with a long catalyst life make the overall system the most cost effective choice. Precious metals, such as platinum, palladium, rhenium and rhodium constitute a huge investment, so a key factor in the economics of these processes is the ability to recover the precious metal content from the catalyst once it is spent. Quick and efficient retrieval of the metals is of paramount importance.
AquaCritox® uses the unique properties of supercritical water to completely oxidize the organic backbone in spent catalyst. The precious metal is oxidized and removed as pure particulate or soluble salt ready to be refined. The process is totally enclosed preventing release of harmful substances and ensuring 100% recovery of precious metals. The process is suitable for use on both heterogeneous and homogenous precious metal catalysts.
SCFI has processed catalyst for a number of international catalyst users and suppliers at the AquaCritox® A10 plant in the European demonstration Centre. The results for materials such as Rhenium, Platinum and a number of other rare earth metal catalysts have proven the technical and economic viability of use of the process in these applications. The supercritical water oxidation process also enables Activated Carbon regeneration and Activated Carbon Catalyst recovery.
The company is actively interested in speaking with companies with catalysts containing precious metals.