A £600,000 grant has been given to a consortium of UK firms to develop a system to turn electronic waste into pure precious metal.
Innovate UK has given the money to the £1 million project that is led by Tetronics and involves Metech Recycling and Vale Europe.
The project will look to develop and demonstrate the UK’s first integrated plasma facility for the sustainable processing of electronic waste to pure precious metal.
Once up and running, it will recover precious metals found in electronic waste including platinum group metals, gold and silver at a smaller and more localised scale than existing large centralised methods without the need for further types of refining.
Components that could be recovered in the UK from around 5.6 million tonnes of electronic products that are expected to be bough between now and 2020 would include more than 30 tonnes of gold and 600 tonnes of silver. More than three tonnes of platinum group metals would be recovered. The value of this is estimated at more than £1 billion.
Tetronics International chief executive Graeme Rumbol said: “The British economy is missing out on a billion pounds simply because we are not recovering the value found in electronic waste in an efficient way.
“The grant from Innovate UK will allow us to develop a demonstration facility, which we hope will lead to British companies being able to install the technology in future. Being awarded the £600,000 highlights how Tetronics is at the very forefront of innovations in green technology and resource recovery.”