The Blue Economy - Innovation No.9: Metals without Mining

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Have you ever wondered how metal ores gathered in such a pure form? Somehow metals accumulated and concentrated. Mining and smelting is a necessary evil to produce electronic artifacts of modern society like phones and computers.

The American researchers Henry Kolesinski and Robert Cooley studied the capacity of bacteria to separate their preferred metals from the rest. This technique known as chelating permits to purify crushed metals at ambient temperature and pressure.

The innovation of Kolesinski and Cooley proposes to crush metal waste to dust, suspend this in water and then have a film covered with the power of bacteria flow through the suspended particles. This moving thin film will pick up one metal at the time, and then release it in a liquid, then pick up another metal, etc.

The comparingly little machines operate almost like a printer. Once the film is finished, simply replace it with a new one. This innovation saves money, energy, reduces the load of mining and generates new income.

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