Gold can be found in today’s printed circuit boards (PCBs) so it makes sense that researchers would find a way to extract them from used PCBs.This recycling method is crucial in today’s gold recovery processes as mining companies are having a hard time in exploring new sources of this precious metal. According to researchers, around 7% of the electrical waste the world produces is gold.
Now, Scottish scientists from University of Edinburgh have released their new findings on a better way to extract gold from old gadgets. Published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, their method of recovering gold is safer and more effective than current techniques. They have estimated a total of 300 tonnes of this precious metal recovered from used electronics each year if implemented.
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the method involves dissolving the metal parts of the PCBs in a mild acid, then adding an oily liquid, which contains a chemical compound from the team. This allows the gold to be extracted from the other metals.
Professor Jason Love, the research leader, said, “We are very excited about this discovery. We have shown that our fundamental chemical studies on the recovery of valuable metals from electronic waste could have potential economic and societal benefits.”