Techno-Economic Assessment for Integrating Biosorption into Rare Earth Recovery Process Jin_TEA_ACS_2017.pdf

The current uncertainty in the global supply of rare earth elements (REEs) necessitates the development of novel extraction technologies that utilize a variety of REE source materials. Herein, we examined the techno-economic performance of integrating a biosorption approach into a large-scale process for producing salable total rare earth oxides (TREOs) from various feedstocks. An airlift bioreactor is proposed to carry out a biosorption process mediated by bioengineered rare earth-adsorbing bacteria. Techno-economic assessments were compared for three distinctive categories of REE feedstocks requiring different pre-processing steps. Key parameters identified that affect profitability include REE concentration, composition of the feedstock, and costs of feedstock pretreatment and waste management. Among the 11 specific feedstocks investigated, coal ash from the Appalachian Basin was projected to be the most profitable, largely due to its high-value REE content. Its cost breakdown includes pre-processing (leaching primarily, 77.1%), biosorption (19.4%), and oxalic acid precipitation and TREO roasting (3.5%). Surprisingly, biosorption from the high-grade Bull Hill REE ore is less profitable due to high material cost and low production revenue. Overall, our results confirmed that the application of biosorption to low-grade feedstocks for REE recovery is economically viable. A manuscript published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering including sections on feedstock description, REE biosorption, TEA for biosorption, sensitivity analyses of biomass recycling and REE pricing, and future improvement opportunities.

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Citation Date 2017-10-09T06:00:00+00:00

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Original ID f0000000-58cc-4372-a567-000000000996
Index Date 2018-01-21T02:54:47+00:00
Original Format ISO-USGIN
Original Version 1.2


Name Yongqin Jiao
Position primary contact
Organization Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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