Rare Earth recovery and valorisation and protection of environment
The European Commission defined a list of critical materials for Europe, in terms of economic importance and supply risk. Among them, Rare Earths Elements (REE) have become important raw materials in the industry, playing an essential role in modern electronic technologies, industrial and medical products and innovative environmental technologies. The QEf group is deeply involved in defining and improving ways of recovering REE from a variety of sources: from secondary materials resulting from mining activities (European Project “ENVIronmentally friendly and efficient methods for extraction of Rare Earth Elements from secondary sources” - ENVIREE) or from urban and industrial effluents (FCT Project – “Recovery versus environmental impacts of Rare Earth Elements derived from human activities” - REEuse, PTDC/QEQEPR/1249/2014).
Also, due to the large use of REE in industry, the discharge of these metals in the environment increases. It is paramount to know their cycle in the aquatic media in order to study their effect in the water and biota. This is a second viewpoint where the expertise of the QEf group can be important and is also addressed in the REEuse project.
Contact person: João Paulo Leal