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SIM² Welcome
SIM² KU Leuven (Sustainable Inorganic Materials Management) is an interdisciplinary research cluster at KU Leuven, which addresses the European and global demand for more cleantech innovation and research on resource recovery and recycling.
The rare-earth element Balance Problem revisited
Following their previous, widely-cited work with respect to the rare-earth element Balance Problem, Prof. Binnemans and colleagues have just published a thorough update of this key issue in the Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy.
Meet our SIM² researcher: Lukas Gijsemans
Lukas Gijsemans (Bachelor Degree Chemistry) works as a research associate at the Lab for Inorganic Chemistry. He investigates solvometallurgical methods for industrial case-studies in the KU Leuven C3-SOLMET project.
Trichloride ionic liquids for dissolving metals
In the framework of the EU Horizon 2020 ERC SOLCRIMET project KU Leuven researchers have synthesised trichloride ionic liquids (ILs) which can be used for oxidative dissolution of metals and alloys under mild conditions.
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Applications are invited for the one PhD position funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie “REDMUD – European Training Network for Zero-Waste Valorisation of Bauxite Residue” within the H2020 Programme of the European Commission

SIM² KU Leuven goes for zero-waste urban and landfill mining

SIM² KU Leuven targets zero-waste valorisation of urban and industrial waste. Key focus areas are (1) the direct (preconsumer) recycling of metal scrap and swarf generated during the production of metal based (intermediate) products and (2) the (postconsumer) recycling and/or urban mining of, respectively, flows and stocks of complex, multi-material, metal-containing products (as for instance a hybrid electric vehicle). (3) landfill mining of historic urban solid waste, (4) metal recovery from flows of industrial process residues from primary and secondary metal production and, finally, (5) metal recovery from stocks of landfilled mining waste and industrial process residues. The zero-waste vision implies that for (4) and (5) the residual mineral matrixes are valorised in building or engineered materials.

Research Lines:


Pyro-, hydro-, solvo- and electrometallurgical unit processes are developed and integrated into zero- waste flow sheets for the production and recovery of base metals such as iron and steel, copper, zinc, nickel and lead.  Both


Innovative, efficient - cleantech - processes are developed for the recovery of rare-earth elements (REEs) and other critical metals (PGMs, Ge, In, Sb, Ga, Co, Ta) from end-of-life consumer goods, industrial process residues and low-grade


Upcycling of Low-grade Materials Raw materials and residues are upcycled through innovative processes leading to new applications. The developed processes and materials demonstrate a sustainability advantage over existing ones and are industrially realistic.


Sustainability Assessment and Policy Research The Research Line investigates the economic and environmental feasibility of new flow sheets for the recovery of metals and/or minerals from end-of-life consumer goods, industrial process residues and low-grade ores.


Process intensification aims at the development of chemical process technology which allows chemical processing with high materials and energy efficiency. The main focus is on the transition from batch to continuous flow systems and