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Plasma System to Recycle Precious Metals from Catalysts in Japan

Swindon, UK based Tetronics – a specialist in the use of direct Current (DC) plasma in waste recyclingplants for the treatment of hazardous waste and metal recovery – has been selected by Japan’s Furuya Metal to supply a new plasma system for the reclamation of Platinum Group Metals (PGM’s) from spent catalysts.

The company said that preparations for the project are now underway and the plasma recovery plant will be delivered to Japan in early 2013.

Tetronics claimed that following extensive due-diligence, including test work at its UK trials facility, the plant will allow technical recovery rates in excess of 98% of PGM’s from the spent catalysts.

Waste catalyst, including automotive catalytic converters and industrial catalysts from the chemical and petrochemical industries, contain precious metals and specifically the PGMs that are valuable as a result of their low natural abundance, unique properties and the complex processes that are required for their extraction and refining from primary sources.

The plasma specialist claimed that the principal advantages of its patented plasma technology are that it couples the highest technical recovery/operational flexibility with the lowest environmental impacts and cost base.

The company said that the process chemistry in its plasma waste recovery technology is designed to smelt and preferentially separate the precious metals from the less valuable material, which is vitrified into an inert, safe reusable product called Plasmarok, in a single processing step.

The technology will also destroy any hazardous organic material, such as dioxins that may be contained within the waste material, the company added.

According to Furuya it awarded Tetronics the contract because of its previous experience in the delivery of metal recovery solutions specifically designed for the recovery of PGMs from catalyst wastes.

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