Best Poster Award at RawMat2021: IL-based system for separation of metals

SIM² KU Leuven / SOLVOMET researcher Dr. Xiaohua (Sharron) Li received the Best Poster Award at the International Conference on Raw Materials and Circular Economy (RawMat2021). Dr. Li obtained the award for her work on rare-earth metal separation.


This International conference, which was held in Athens on 5-9 September 2021, brought together professionals in the field of raw materials, in order to address a wide range of technological developments and future challenges regarding Raw Materials with emphasis given to Circular Economy aspects.

RawMat2021 was organised by the Technical Chamber of Greece, the School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens and the Greek Raw Materials Cluster (GRawMat).

Poster Award

Dr. Li’s research was awarded with RawMat2021’s “Best Poster Award”. The work comprises a new method to separate rare earths and transition metals using ionic liquid (IL)-based aqueous biphasic systems (ABS). Under optimal conditions, ABS based on [P444,14]Cl-NaCl/LiCl-H2O could extract transition metals effectively without contamination of rare-earth ions.

The advantages of this solvent extraction system compared to conventional systems (such as organic-water, ionic liquid-water) are that: (1) hydrophilic and cheap ILs could be applied, (2) low amount of ILs is needed; and (3) the viscosity of the IL phase could be lower.

Reference & acknowledgements

X. Li, J.J.M.M. van de Ven, K. Binnemans, Separation of transition metals and rare earths using ionic liquid-based aqueous biphasic systems, Poster-RawMAt2021. Dr. Li acknowledges the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) for supporting this work through a postdoctoral grant (12ZA520N).


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