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Slash energy costs with this new electrowinning anode

By Tetsuo SatoH |

The research group of Masatsugu Morimitsu at Doshisha University (Kyoto, Japan; www.doshisha.ac.jp) has developed an “evolutionary” electrowinning process for the production of rare and base metals that promises to reduce both the power consumption and environmental burden. The process features a hybrid anode, called MSA (Morimitsu Smart Anode), which is composed of nanoparticle oxides dispersed in an oxide matrix. The MSA enhances the catalytic activity up to ten times while reducing the electrowinning voltage by 700 mV, which corresponds to energy savings of up to 36%, compared to traditional lead-alloy anodes. The generation of metal sludge is also said to be suppressed. The MSA features a bifunctional electrocatalyst composed of nanoparticles of metal oxides uniformly dispersed in an amorphous matrix. The catalyst is very active for the evolution of oxygen or chlorine gas, while suppressing side reactions caused by thermal decomposition. Doshisha University has licensed the technology to Republic Alternative Technologies (Strongsville, Ohio), which was acquired by Outotec USA, Inc. (Denver, Colo.; www.outotec.com) last April. Full-scale production of electrowinning electrodes is now underway. The first commercial application…
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