Industrial Application of a Tantalum Recycling Process from E-Waste


Project description

Tantalum is a rarely occurring, ductile, graphite gray, lustrous transition metal. Approximately 60% of the world production of tantalum is used for high performance electrolytic with large capacities at small size. Examples for their application are miniaturized power supplies and circuit boards as they can be found in PC motherboards, mobile phones and laptops. As the global demand for electronic devises is expected to continue to sky rocket, also the tantalum demand will supposedly rise sharply in the coming years.  

Despite its high price of about US $ 400 / kg (99.8%), the recycling rate of tantalum is generally very low. Recycling in appreciable extent is currently only observed in the field of production waste. In the area of consumer waste, recycling rate is currently estimated to be less than 1%.

The ELPRO Electronic Product Recycling GmbH has addressed these problems together with the Institute of Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanics.  A First Recycling-Approach has been developed by the combination of manual pre-sorting followed by a mechanical-thermal-processing. Promising tantalum-contents as well as noticeable yields have been reached so far.

Goal of this project is the verification and enhancement of the recyling-approach. Known process steps have to be improved and intertwined first on a pilot-scale, so the recycling of tantalum can then be transferred to the industrial scale at the ELPRO.

Joint partners

  • ELPRO Elektronik-Produkt Recycling GmbH, Braunschweig
  • TU Clausthal, Institut für Aufbereitung, Deponietechnik und Geomechanik

Supported by

Allianz Industrie Forschung

Förderkennzeichen: KF2559903KO4



M.Sc. Felix Römer

Tel.: +(49) 5323-72-3716

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