Electrowinning is a process used to extract metals from a waste stream by applying an electric current through an electrolytic solution. During the process, metal ions are reduced and deposited onto a cathode, creating a solid metal deposit. This technique is commonly used in the mining industry to recover metals such as copper, zinc, nickel, and gold from sulfide ores.
ElectraMet, a Lexington-based startup, has developed a technology that builds on the concepts of electrowinning using patented carbon electrodes to remove metals from waste or process water streams. Unlike traditional electrowinning processes, ElectraMet’s technology can remove metals down to ppb levels, while electrowinning is often limited to higher ppm levels. ElectraMet’s carbon-based cartridges are also far more efficient, taking only minutes to accomplish what a traditional electrowinning process would take hours to achieve.
ElectraMet’s electrochemical process uses the carbon electrodes to actively attract, immobilize, and filter metals with 99% selectivity, producing no sludge, and up to 90% reduction in operating expenses. The process is ideal for EV battery recycling, electronics, and metal finishing wastewater treatment.
Electrowinning and ElectraMet’s solution are both electrochemical processes that utilize current to separate metals from a water stream, but the difference lies in the efficiency and capability of the technology. ElectraMet’s carbon electrode technology is a game-changer in the industrial sector, reshaping how companies manage their wastewater and providing significant environmental and economic benefits.
In conclusion, electrowinning is a well-established process in the mining industry to recover metals from sulfide ores, while ElectraMet’s solution is a new and innovative technology that removes metals from water streams down to ppb levels. With its efficiency and selectivity, ElectraMet’s technology is a promising solution for companies in need of sustainable and cost-effective wastewater treatment.