The research group of Hydrometallurgy and Corrosion focus on enabling sustainable living for the future generations, by research focusing on nonferrous metal processing and true circular economy of metals. The group utilises hydrometallurgical and electrochemical means for the recovery of metals and precious materials, development of electrolysis processes, study of corrosion prevention and development of recovery methods for secondary raw materials. The group is dedicated in the combination of theoretical understanding with practical application for the development of industrial processes in a circular economy. Furthermore, the research group provides an in-depth knowledge of related innovative technologies that support Aalto University’s related Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering master (Major: Sustainable metals processing) and doctoral level studies.
Key topics include:
- Leaching and recovery processes
- Electrolysis processes
- Modelling and process simulation (including LCA)
- Raw material efficiency
- Non-ferrous metals, special focus in Cu, Au, REEs
- Utilization of secondary raw materials (battery waste, WEEE, slags, residues, and waste waters etc.)
- Development of electrochemical measuring methods
- Corrosion prevention and failure analysis
Our current research topics include cyanide-free leaching methods of gold (e.g., chloride leaching), copper corrosion in groundwater, copper electrolysis, properties and impurities of copper electrolyte, pressure leaching and characterization of copper anode slimes. In addition, important Circular Economic research includes the leaching of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)/spent battery waste/solar panel waste, recovery of valuable elements from industrial solutions as well as the sustainable preparation of novel materials like copper – carbon nanotube composites and cellulose-based coatings.
As a research group of hydrometallurgy and corrosion, we have a well-equipped laboratory with leaching reactors and continuous leaching station with small-scale OKTOP® reactors and autoclave (Büchi ecoclave 075). We have electrochemical measuring equipment including several potentiostats, power sources, batch reactors (up to cascade leaching in 3-litre reactors), Electrochemical Quartz Crystal Microbalance (EQCM) equipment (SRS QCM 200), equipment for characterization of solid raw materials, equipment for sample preparation, as well as Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) and other analytical equipment. Furthermore, being part of Aalto University and RawMaterials infra funded by Academy of Finland also provides access to a wide-range of additional equipment such as particle size analyzer, SEM-EDS/WDS, XRD, AFM, BET and ICP-OES, to support research.
Our scientific strategy is to increase the understanding and knowledge from the molecule level scale via the macro to industrial scale processes based on the key principles of sustainable development and circular economy.