Pyrometallurgical Processes for the Recovery of Metals from WEEE
Book chapter, 2016
After reaching its useful physical life, electrical and electronic equipment is collected and recycled, depending on the type, through various techniques. Besides environmental concerns, recycling of this equipment is attractive and also viable since it contains significant amounts of precious metals. Pyrometallurgy has proven itself to be a versatile approach for the efficient recovery of the metallic fractions from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). In this context, the main pyrometallurgical methods-smelting, incineration, combustion, pyrolysis, molten salt, and pyrochemical processes-are reviewed. The pyrometallurgical treatment of WEEE varies worldwide with respect to the type of the WEEE, physical shape and size of the fed materials, and the plant operating parameters. With simplified flowcharts included, the available processes are discussed on a thermodynamic and kinetic basis. The limitations, challenges, and environmental issues associated with currently used methods and developing techniques are summarized with the aim of providing a better understanding of the topic.