Around the world, there is a growing awareness of the need to protect urban environments. It is more important than ever that we use green processes for the urban mining of end-of-life products—meaning those that have been supplied to customers and are at the end of their useful lives from the seller’s perspective. Urban mining involves recovering rare metals from these products.
Dr. Gisele Azimi, Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations, is developing and applying innovations in the urban mining of strategic materials—such as lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements—from postconsumer products. She and her research team are using a cutting-edge and environmentally friendly process called supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) to do this. Carrying out this research involves investigating the phase equilibrium, clarifying the mechanism and developing and optimizing the extraction process.