Rare earth elements (REEs), such as neodymium, europium, dysprosium, terbium, and yttrium, are sometimes referred to as the “vitamins of modern industry” due to their frequent use in high-tech applications. They are used in fiber optics to carry internet traffic, making gasoline from petroleum, and in items like magnets and lasers. China dominates over 85% of the global production of REEs from primary sources. There is interest in extracting REEs from secondary sources, but current sorbents are often not cost-effective or environmentally friendly. Therefore, there is a need for better methods to recover REEs.
Investigators at the University of Toledo created a sorbent for solid-phase extraction with improved selectivity for REEs. Caffeic acid (CA, 3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid) is a naturally occurring phenolic compound commonly found in coffee, fruits, and vegetables. It is more eco-friendly and easier to produce than current solutions. Metal coordination is achieved through highly oxygenated and functional moieties, such as catechol, carboxylate, and C=C groups. Utilizing an ethylenediamine crosslinker, a caffeic acid polymer is formed and can be used as a standalone sorbent.
– Removal and recovery of REEs
- Standalone polymer; no solid support required.
- Granular and air stable
- Easy to prepare
- Minimizes of hazardous and expensive reagents during extraction steps
IP Status: Patent pending
TTO Home Page: http://utoledo.technologypublisher.com
Name: Katherine Pollard
Title: Licensing Associate
Department: Technology Transfer