Gold and silver in the Brussels sewers?
A group of Belgian scientists launched a project aimed at recovering precious metals, such as gold and silver, from sewers. “All the sewage in the city of Brussels arrives here for treatment. The water is clean and returned to the river. All the solid materials that contain the metals are concentrated in the sludge”, says Natacha Brion, a scientist at the VUB University in Belgium.
According to Euronews, the work started more than six months ago on a project with an expected duration of three years. The goal is to collect the gold and silver nanoparticles, invisible to the naked eye, at each stage of the water treatment process. Preliminary findings suggest that the darkest residues are also the richest.
A total of three universities collaborate in this project, the challenge is to find ways to extract these precious metals. “We want to use nanomaterials and iron oxide nanoparticles, which are magnetic, and thus collect the different solutions separately,” adds Gilles Bruylants, a scientist at ULB University.
Initial tests suggest that it is possible to collect about one gram of gold and five grams of silver for each tonne of sludge.
Learn more here.
30 January 2020