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Metal recovery from wastewater

Recovery of metals in the treatment plant


Partners : INSA Lyon (DEEP) Denise Blanc-Biscarat, Camille ARNAULT (AERMC)

Recovering metals in wastewater is a challenge for researchers who want to accompany the transformation of the wastewater treatment plant into a water resource recovery plant. INRAE’s REVERSAAL unit and INSA’s DEEP laboratory in Lyon are working together towards this goal.

The work carried out in 2019-2020 consisted in drawing up, based on bibliographical knowledge, a report covering the state-of-the-art, as well as problems and opportunities for recovery of about fifty metals contained in wastewater. A first step consisted in identifying the metals of interest by matrix (wastewater, treated water, sludge, and ash) based on criteria of strategy, criticality, concentrations, and financial potential. The work also identified available recovery technologies, those under development, and initiatives on the subject of metal recovery. The report (in French) is available here.

Taking into account the limits of available knowledge, a second step is undertaken to characterize the speciation of metals in different remediation matrices, to understand the reaction processes and their conditions of reversibility. More specifically, the aim is to understand and control the links between metals and solid phases (organic matter, sorbents, precipitates, resins …). This is the purpose of the MAYA project.

Dr. Antonin AZAIS and Mlle Eodie VARENNES are two key actors to develop metals recovery from wastewater

This work is carried out within the framework of the joint research cluster Ressources Eaux et Déchets – RESEED, with the support of the RMC water agency.