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Solvent extraction system for REE and Sc separation and recovery

  • Responsible partner: KU Leuven
  • Location of pilot: KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  • TRL 5

The rare-earth solvent extraction mini-pilot is located at the KU Leuven department of Chemistry, within the Solvomet research group. Within the NEMO project, the mini-pilot is used for the development of non-aqueous solvent extraction processes (TRL 5), to be incorporated with the hydrometallurgical processes developed by the partners. The pilot consists of a leaching reactor, 20 stages of mixer-settlers (SX Kinetics) and an HCl gas setup to produce organic solutions containing HCl, for dissolution of rare-earth oxides, hydroxides and/or carbonates. The leaching reactor was designed and constructed in collaboration with HiTec Zang, and consists of two heatable glass mixing reactor chambers of size 1 L and 5 L, both coupled to a glass filtration unit. It has been optimized for leaching with viscous liquids (e.g. organic solvents, ionic liquids). The 20-stage mixer-settler battery was designed and constructed by SX Kinetics, with peristaltic pumps supplied by Cole-Parmer. The mixing and settling chambers are both constructed of glass, with a volume of 270 mL and 1000 mL respectively. The stages are connected counter-currently with polymeric tubing. The flow of organic and aqueous solutions through the mixer-settlers is controlled by the peristaltic pumps, with flow rates up to 10 L/h. Only room temperature experiments are possible.

From left to right, from top to bottom: Mixer-settler battery, mixer-settler test, HCl gas setup, leaching reactor.


Solvomet Group https://solvomet.eu/contact/

Koen Binnemans

+ 32 16 32 74 46


Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Heverlee (Belgium)