Pilot-Scale Testing of an Integrated Circuit for the Extraction of Rare Earth Minerals and Elements from Coal and Coal By-products Using Advanced Separation Technologies Email Page
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Performer:  University of Kentucky Research Foundation Location:  Lexington, Kentucky
Project Duration:  03/01/2016 – 03/31/2020 Award Number:  FE0027035
Technology Area:  Rare Earth Recovery Total Award Value:  $8,820,009
Key Technology:  Process Systems DOE Share:  $6,999,797
Performer Share:  $1,820,212

Schematic of the University of Kentucky’s process.
Schematic of the University of Kentucky’s process.

Project Description

In Phase 1 of this project, the University of Kentucky (UK) identified two bituminous coal-related feedstocks qualified as having ample supply with high rare earth element (REE) content (above 300 parts per million) and developed a preliminary design for a mobile pilot plant to recover REEs from those feedstocks. In laboratory experiments, UK achieved greater than 80 percent concentration of rare earths in the mixed rare earth concentrate while recovering greater than 75 percent of the rare earths from the incoming feedstock. In Phase 2, the University will develop and test a one-fourth ton/hour pilot-scale plant for the extraction of REEs from Central Appalachian and Illinois Basin bituminous coal preparation plant refuse materials. The system integrates both physical and chemical (ion exchange and solvent extraction) separation processes that are commercially available and environmentally acceptable. The innovative enabling technology utilized in the proposed system includes an advanced froth flotation process and a novel hydrophobic-hydrophilic separation process.

Project Benefits

The project is expected to develop critical technology, conditions and data necessary to design, construct and operate a state-of-the-art processing facility for the production of REEs from various coal and coal by-product streams.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Charles E. Miller: charles.miller@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Mary Anne Alvin: maryanne.alvin@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Rick Honaker: rick.honaker@uky.edu