A single-step process to leach out rare earth elements from coal ash using organic carboxylic acids

Banerjee, Riya and Mohanty, A and Chakravarty, S and Chakladar, S and Biswas, P (2021) A single-step process to leach out rare earth elements from coal ash using organic carboxylic acids. Hydrometallurgy, 201 .

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The ever increasing applications of rare earth elements and their limited primary resources has compelled researchers worldwide to find alternate methods of efficient leaching from various secondary resources, in particular from end of life products. The present research work describes such a process to extract rare earth elements from coal ash using low molecular weight carboxylic acids. Different carboxylic acids, i.e. monocarboxylic (lactic acid), dicarboxylic (malonic acid, succinic acid, tartaric acid) and tricarboxylic acid (citric acid) were used to successfully leach out significant proportion of rare earth elements (up to 62%) from coal ash at the natural pH of the carboxylic acid solutions (pH 1.6-2.3). The carboxylic acid concentration, leaching duration, temperature, and pulp density were optimized for the leaching process. Best leaching efficiency (65% for LREE, 19% for HREE & 62% for total REE) was achieved using 5% tartaric acid solution having natural solution pH 1.8 at 90 degrees C with a leaching duration of 60 min. The leaching efficiency of the different carboxylic acids were in the order of tartaric acid>lactic acid>citric acid>malonic acid>succinic acid. The leaching kinetics of individual rare earth elements was found to be different from each other owing to their different complex formation ability with carboxylic acids. Appreciable selectivity was observed for leaching of rare earth elements over transition metal and main group elements. XRD and electron probe micro analyzer (EPMA) studies revealed that unlike mineral acids, carboxylic acids leached out rare earth elements without damaging the minerology of coal ash, thus providing the opportunity to utilize the treated coal ash for other applications like in cement and bricks industries. Thus, the novelty of the present work lies in efficient and selective leaching of lanthanides from coal ash using only organic acids, which are considered much milder and greener options compared to mineral acids.

Item Type:Article
Official URL/DOI:https://doi.org/http://10.1016/j.hydromet.2021.105...
Uncontrolled Keywords:Rare earth elements; Carboxylic acids; Coal ash; Leaching
Divisions:Material Science and Technology
ID Code:8348
Deposited By:Sahu A K
Deposited On:07 May 2021 10:42
Last Modified:07 May 2021 10:42
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