Metal release into the environment is a global problem that occurs wherever sulphide ores are exposed to air and water by natural weathering or anthropogenic mining activities. Heavy metals, e.g. copper, nickel, zinc and lead, do not break down in the environment, accumulate in organises and are already toxic in the mg/L range.
Metals are commonly removed from wastewater by precipitation, e.g. with slaked lime, resulting in the production of large amounts of with metal contaminated waste. The annual global production of mine wastes has been estimated at approximately 15,000-20,000 million tons, of which 2,900 million tons is produced in Europe.
BioelectroMET provides a solution to remove metals from waste (or process) water that does not produce a waste and that recovers the metals in a useful form (pure and metallic).