CSIR- NML wins ‘Best Technology Award’ in Physical Sciences for 2020

JNS: CSIR-NML received the ‘Best Technology Award’ in Physical Sciences for 2020 for the developed indigenous technology for “Extraction of cobalt and gold from the black cathode material of Li-Co batteries and gold-coated surface of e-waste, respectively” on the day of its 79th Foundation Day celebration.

The indigenous technology, developed by the CSIR-NML team includes Dr. Manis Kumar Jha, Dr. Jhumki Hait, Mr. Ranjeet Kumar Singh, Dr. Pankaj Kumar Choubey, Dr. Archana Kumari, Rekha Panda, Om Shankar Dinkar. Later on technology was transferred to M/s EXIGO Recycling Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

The award consists of a plaque for each team member and two lakhs rupees in cash.

In the past, CSIR-NML had transferred similar e-waste recycling processes to various other industries for the recovery of rare, rare-earth, precious and strategic metals. In India CSIR-NML, Jamshedpur is a pioneer for the development of various recycling technologies. The scrap or e-waste recycling sector has noteworthy potential to contribute to the country’s economy and create employment, informed PR official of NML.

In India, out of all e-waste generated, only 5% of it gets formally recycled. The informal sector usually carries out 95% recycling in an unorganized manner with high health risks. Li-Co batteries contain active cathode material with variable concentration of Co, Li, Mn, Cu, etc. which makes the chemical processes more complex for metal recovery. Moreover, the heterogeneous nature of a variety of batteries received from the various sources/ municipal wastes is a great challenge during the technology development to recover Co as a high purity product. The batteries of branded companies possess a high percentage of Co and Li while that of local companies possesses a variety of impurities that create complexities in recovery. Similarly, recovery of gold is very challenging due to the presence of various metal/ materials, which form complexes during the chemical processing/ treatment. Based on compositions of e-waste, novel and feasible process, flow-sheets have been developed to recover gold selectively.

The presence of a significant amount of cobalt and gold has attracted the attention of many industrialists for their feasible recovery. But lack of feasible and indigenous technology to recover them (cobalt and gold), in view of environmental concern and non-availability of natural resources has compelled the scientists and research teams at CSIR-NML to develop Know-How for the extraction of cobalt and gold from the black cathode material of Li-Co batteries and the gold-coated surface of e-waste, respectively using hydrometallurgical routes.

This developed technology mitigates the environmental pollution by preventing the toxic inlet of metals in the soil through sewage or industrial waste. It will create awareness, new avenues/ start-ups for new entrepreneurs and businesses for recycling of various other wastes.



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