A Pollution Prevention and Economically Viable Technology for Separation of Rare Earth Elements from Powder River Basin Coal Ashes Email Page
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Performer:  University of Wyoming Location:  Laramie, Wyoming
Project Duration:  03/01/2016 – 08/31/2017 Award Number:  FE0027069
Technology Area:  Rare Earth Recovery Total Award Value:  $820,596
Key Technology:  Separation Technologies DOE Share:  $599,987
Performer Share:  $220,609

Schematic drawing of technical approach (3 steps)<br/>used for extracting REEs form PRB coal ashes
Schematic drawing of technical approach (3 steps)
used for extracting REEs form PRB coal ashes

Project Description

The University of Wyoming and its partners’ overall objective is to develop a new cost-effective pollution-avoidance or pollution-prevention technology with enhanced performance and great scalability for recovering high-value REEs from coal ash.  The working scope of the project includes: (1) coal ash sampling and characterization; (2) a feasibility study of the proposed technology for REE recovery from Powder River Basin (PRB) coal ashes; and (3) production of REEs-precipitates (Step 3) containing 2% by weight (wt%) rare earth.  Promoter and leaching solution (Step 1) will be used for producing REEs-precipitates containing 2 wt% rare earth from PRB coal ash via three steps: (1) REE leaching from coal ash with Promoter and leaching solution under supercritical conditions and assisted with ultrasound; (2) separation of REEs loading particles (tufts) from the leaching mixture by using the particles themselves, and (3) de-watering particles to obtain REEs-rich solid containing at least 2 wt% REEs.

Project Benefits

The new technology generates near-zero pollution (utilizing a promoter to help with leaching operations), can achieve at least 90% REE recovery from ash, and achieves reductions of 50% in energy requirements and 30% in costs compared to conventional REE recovery technologies.

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager Otis Mills: otis.mills@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager Mary Anne Alvin: maryanne.alvin@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator Maohong Fan: mfan@uwyo.edu