Scientists Working on New Technology to Recycle Rare Earths from Wastewater
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 5, 2013 1:12 PM EST
With some of the most useful rare earths feared to be depleted within the next 50 years, scientists are racing against time to develop technologies to maximise their full potential as well as what could remain of them. Scientists are now specifically trying to establish a method to recycle rare earths from wastewater.
A group of Chinese researchers led by Zhang Lin, in a study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, said if successful, the process "could help alleviate economic and environmental pressures facing the REE industry."
The scientists manufactured inexpensive nano-Mg(OH)2 particles, which captured more than 85 per cent of the REEs that were diluted in wastewater in an initial experiment mimicking real-world conditions.
"Recycling REEs from wastewater not only saves rare earth resources and protects the environment, but also brings considerable economic benefits," the researchers state. "The pilot-scale experiment indicated that the self-supported flower-like nano-Mg(OH)2 had great potential to recycle REEs from industrial wastewater."
Contained in a collection of 17 chemical elements, rare earth minerals are used in various technological devices, including various superconductors, cellphones and other gadgets that have both commercial and military uses.
Various reports have stated that supplies of some of these precious elements, such as terbium, used in magnets and superconductors, and dysprosium, may only last another 30 years. It may even ran out earlier, as experts and analysts forecast that in 2015 alone, global demand has been broached to hit 185,000 tonnes.
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Join the Conversation
- Travel Alert: Australia Mulls To Review Airport Security Policy, Could Allow Scissors, Metal Cutlery Back In Planes
- 5 Likely Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Hired
- This Is How Obesity Weighs Down Global Economy By 2 Trillion Dollars Every Year
- Consumer Alert: Retailer Simons Goes Out Of Quebec, To Open Five Stores Across Canada
- Signs That You Are A Smartphone Zombie (And The Dangers This Poses)
- Russia Is Ready for Shooting War, Will Likely Win Looming Nuclear Showdown with U.S. – Report
- Kobani ISIS Fighter Sends Out Desperate Message For Prayers And Support: Euphoria Turns Into Desperation As Kurds Advance
- Home Depot Early Black Friday 2014 Sale Up To Nov. 29, 2014 Includes Special Buys On Appliances Such As Samsung Refrigerators, Whirlpool Electric Ranges And Hoover Vacuum Cleaners
- Microsoft Band Runs Out Of Stock, But Offers $10 Gift Voucher To Wait-Listed Customers
- ISIS War: US Airstrikes Lead to Growing ISIS Support In Syria; Russia Questions Coalition's Policies
- Google Joins Forces with GoPro Inc with New Google Maps Focusing on Destination
- Target Early Black Friday 2014 Sale Ad Released For Nov. 26, 2014 Includes Deals On Toys, HDTVs And Video Games Such As ‘FIFA 15’ And ‘NHL 15’ For Xbox 360 [WATCH VIDEO]