National projects


Green Recovery of Metals

Tapping the results from Bio-Ore and PhytoMine, GRecoMet  is set up as a pioneering project exploring new pathways of non-ferrous metal recovery. Metals, diffusely dispersed in waste incineration ash, are brought in solution through microbial leaching in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective way. Depending on the characteristics of the different metals and the specific method, up to 100% mobilization is expected. The obtained bioleachate is used for rhizofiltration and biosorption experiments. (1) alchemia-nova GmbH has developed and patented a horizontal constructed wetland (in the course of the EU project demEAUmed), which will be adapted to enrich metals hydroponically in the plant tissue of selected metal accumulators (a process called rhizofiltration). (2) Additionally, different natural materials will be tested for biosorption properties. In a series of experiments residues from agro-forestry and food industry (egg shells, potato peels, residues from sugar beet and cereal processing,… ) and dried plant and algae biomass will be used for adsorption of metals from bioleachate. (3) Further trials deal with accumulation of metals in living microalgae and cyanobacteria. (4) In addition, adsorption of metals from bioleachate to oligopeptids and other polymers will be tested. Innovative gentle chemical processes for the recovery of metals from the obtained biomass will then be optimised based on findings of the project Bergwerk Pflanze (e.g. using ultrasonication to aid the remobilisation of metals from biomass) to develop efficient and cost-effective ways to gain high-quality bio-ores, salts or pure metals.

Project leader

Project partners
UWEG Umweltschutz und Wertstoff-Recycling GmbH & Co.KG
SMT Metalle Wimmer
acib GmbH – Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology
SPIEGLtec GmbH – consulting engineers

Project status
Start 04/2016, duration 36 months
FFG Production of the Future – 15th call
Project no. 853480
Overall costs € 904,701 – FFG contribution € 742,100