High Yield and Economical Production of Rare Earth Elements from Coal Ash


Schematic for the Separation Processes and Products<br/>of the Ash Processing Plant
Schematic for the Separation Processes and Products
of the Ash Processing Plant
Physical Sciences Inc.
Website:  Physical Sciences Inc.
Award Number:  FE0027167
Project Duration:  03/01/2016 – 03/31/2020
Total Award Value:  $8,750,166
DOE Share:  $6,999,165
Performer Share:  $1,751,001
Technology Area:  Rare Earth Recovery
Key Technology:  Separation Technologies
Location:  Andover, Massachusetts

Project Description

Physical Sciences Inc. will build on previous work to optimize the enrichment/recovery process stages and build and demonstrate the REE extraction process component in a continuous mode. In Phase I, the project team will develop a design of a pilot-scale plant to economically produce high-yield rare earth element concentrates and commercially viable co-products from coal ash using environmentally safe physical and chemical enrichment processes.  The team will work to facilitate the optimization of individual process stages, unit operations, and process parameters.  The team will develop a detailed techno-economic model of the continuous process, including ash feedstock and reagent inputs, REE concentrate, and co-product outputs of commercial value, taking into account capital and operating expenses.

Project Benefits

The pilot-scale circuit is designed to process a dry ash throughput of 1-5 tons per day of rare earth mineral concentrates with purity levels of at least 2% REEs by weight (wt%), with the goal of producing dry mixtures of nitrates with REE concentrations above a 5 wt% threshold and preferably to greater than 10 wt%.  The proposed work, if successful, will demonstrate an environmentally benign and economically feasible method of providing a reliable and cost-competitive domestic source of rare earth elements and water recovery.

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 
Prakash Joshi: joshi@psicorp.com

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