At a time when the lack of resources is a first-rate problem, many companies have been working on new business models. This is the case of Audi, which has been researching and has now presented one of its most ambitious projects. Therefore have promoted microinvasive mining in order to achieve sustainable extraction of metals that are used for high technology.
The Audi Environment Foundation has joined forces with those of the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology to investigate new forms of metal extraction that are indispensable for modern technologies. All this will be used to develop new technologies to be used in the future such as electromobility.
With the intention of preserving the environment, work has been done so as not to damage it. Therefore, heavy machinery is not used, and much less energy and fewer chemicals are required, so that the landscape is not damaged either. In this way, they have developed the bioleaching system in situ, whereand separates and enriches indium and germanium from a multicomponent mixture. These two strategic metals are necessary for the manufacture of a number of state-of-the-art products such as flat panels, touch displays, navigation systems, fiber optic technology, computer chips, photovoltaic systems and car bearings.
This sophisticated system has been tested to a depth of 147 meters in conditions of more than 90% humidity and with dripping acidic water at ten degrees Celsius. Among the important parameters were the composition of the bacterial solution, the enrichment with the elements studied, the process parameters used and the performance of these materials. These investigations were productive and understood that it was much easier to separate germanium by up to 20% in laboratory simulations.
Seeing the success of this type of material subtraction methods, it will be used and other deposits such as Cobalt. The process is particularly suitable for the extraction of valuable materials, minerals with a low concentration of these elements. To this end, the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology has already started the process of finding suitable partners for the application of this technology in other sites.