Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Efficient removal of uranium, other heavy metals from water

Date:
December 10, 2013
Source:
University of Eastern Finland
Summary:
A new and efficient method for the removal of uranium and other heavy metals from water has been developed. A Finnish chemicals industry company, has purchased the rights on the invention, and will introduce the method to the commercial markets. Binding metal ions to a solid material, the CH Collector method can be used within the mining industry, and also in the removal of emissions caused by the chemicals and metals processing industries.

A new and efficient method for the removal of uranium and other heavy metals from water has been developed at the University of Eastern Finland. Chemec Ltd., a Finnish chemicals industry company, has purchased the rights in the invention and will introduce the method to the commercial markets. Binding metal ions to a solid material, the CH Collector method can be used within the mining industry, and also in the removal of emissions caused by the chemicals and metals processing industries.

Related Articles


Chemec's CH Collector method is a potential solution to issues relating to the dangers and recovery of uranium, which have been a topic of much debate in Finland lately. Uranium is a mildly radioactive and poisonous heavy metal, which is naturally occurring in some parts of the Finnish bedrock. When mining other metals such as gold, uranium may be present as an impurity in mining waste waters. A complete removal of uranium from solutions is difficult due to the fact that uranium takes different forms depending on the acidity of the solution. The removal of other heavy metal emissions such as lead, mercury, cadmium and zinc from waters is also challenging.

Recovering even small amounts of metal

Traditionally, metal ions are removed from solutions with the help of chemical coagulants or ion exchangers, which usually require adjustments to the solution's pH or significant extra energy in order to function efficiently. Professor Jouko Vepsäläinen's research group at the UEF School of Pharmacy has developed a new method enabling an efficient removal of metal ions from solutions without the need to use any auxiliary substances. The CH Collector method is based on the use of a solid material which collects metal ions directly from the solution. University researcher Petri Turhanen had a central role in the development of the new method.

The solid material developed by the researchers belongs to the aminobisphosphonate family, which are also used in, for example, osteoporosis medications. The invention is unique, as no other metal absorbents working on the same principle are in use. "Ion channels are formed inside the material, in which the metal ions are collected from the solution," Professor Vepsäläinen explains.

The new material collects metal ions directly from the solution. The collection of metals does not require a separate precipitation step or any adjustments to the solution's pH. For instance, an efficient recovery of uranium is possible from a very wide pH range and even in cases where the solution is rich in other naturally-occurring metal ions such as sodium, magnesium or calcium. "Unlike traditional methods, the CH Collector method also allows the recovery of metals occurring in very small concentrations."

The new method enabled practically a complete removal of uranium from water samples taken from Finnish mines. There was no need to pre-process the samples even though they contained very high concentrations of other metals possibly disturbing the process. The efficiency of the method was also tested on an ore sample that contained scandium. The sample was dissolved and then treated with the new material. The two-phase process made it possible to recover 98% of the scandium.

The new method is well-suited for the removal of metals not only from the waste waters of the mining industry, but also from the waste waters of the metals processing and chemical industries, which may contain heavy metals and uranium in particular.

Selective recovery of metals moves forward

At the University of Eastern Finland, inventions are currently being commercialized more frequently than ever before. According to UEF Academic Rector Jukka Mönkkönen, this is one of the goals of academic research.

"In the commercialization of this invention, Tekes's New knowledge and business from research ideas funding instrument and the contacts found via Geological Survey of Finland played an important role. A number of companies were interested in purchasing commercial rights in the invention. The partner company was selected on the grounds of promoting as efficient and as wide a use of the invention as possible. This is why we regarded Chemec as our ideal partner," says Business Development Advisor Matti Höytö of the University of Eastern Finland.

R&D activities around the CH Collector method will continue. Chemec and the University of Eastern Finland are participating in Tekes's Green Mining Programme which seeks to enhance the selective recovery of metals and to create a novel, optimized concept for the treatment of mining industry waste waters and process waters. "The goal is to create a toolkit for the selective recovery of different metals with the help of bisphosphonates. In the future, these kinds of methods could enable a targeted recovery of rare and valuable earth metals from complex mixtures containing metal ions," Professor Vepsäläinen says. "This project strengthens the position of Chemec Group on the European export markets and opens possibilities for an increasingly broad mining customer base also outside Europe," Chemec CEO Tapani Niskanen says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Eastern Finland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Eastern Finland. "Efficient removal of uranium, other heavy metals from water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210071936.htm>.
University of Eastern Finland. (2013, December 10). Efficient removal of uranium, other heavy metals from water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210071936.htm
University of Eastern Finland. "Efficient removal of uranium, other heavy metals from water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210071936.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) — Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins