Words from the coordinator


It has been a busy and productive first year for the PEACOC project. Since its launch in May 2021, the PEACOC team has been working hard on progressing to achieve the ambitious goals of the project. We are targeting the recovery of important Precious Metals (PMs), such as palladium (Pd), platinum (Pt), rhodium (Rh), silver (Ag) and gold (Au), necessary to guarantee the technological and sustainable future of Europe, from end-of-life (EoL) residues that currently are poorly valorised in Europe.
The project will be developed at semi-commercial pilot scale (TRL7), and it brings a promising alternative to recover PMs from spent autocatalysts, low and midgrade Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), and EoL photovoltaic (PV) panels, promoting also the circularity of those residues.
During this year, most of the technical work done by the partners has focused on the optimisation of the concentration and refining processes at laboratory scale, and the modelling of the PEACOC technologies, steps which will allow to upscale the process. Also, the valorisation of the targeted elements into single PMs streams has accomplished preliminary tests on those residual matrices.
Based on this progress, the Life-cycle assessment (LCA) and Life-cycle cost (LCC) analysis of the PEACOC process is being drafted.
A great progress has been done during this first year that relies on the strong teamwork and close collaboration between the partners of PEACOC consortium. We are looking forward to sharing the outcomes we will achieve in the upcoming years!

The latest PECOC updates:

What is PEACOC project about?
Bridging the supply chain for Precious Metals

Under the EU-funded project PEACOC, a consortium of 19 partners from 8 European countries and Turkey are collaborating to develop a first-of-a-kind economically and environmentally viable pre-commercial metallurgical system for recovering PMs, such as Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), Au and Ag from EoL resources, namely spent autocatalysts, low and mid-grade PCBAs and EoL PV panels. The project aims to reduce the supply risk of PMs in the European Union (EU) and to enable new business opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that recycle a wide variety of abundant EoL products.

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Project Highlights

Testing innovative technologies to optimise and upscale the concentration stage 

During the first year of the project, University of Liege (ULiège) (BE) has been leading the optimisation and upscaling of the concentration stage in close collaboration with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) (NL), processing three different waste streams (i.e., spent autocatalysts, low and mid-grade PCBAs and EoL PV panels) and targeting the following objectives: 
  • To concentrate Au, Ag and Pd from low/mid-grade Printed Circuit Board Assemblies (PCBAs) coming from WEEEs, through defining the best route combining NOVA, Ultra-fast sorting (UFS) and Magnetic Density Separation (MDS) technologies Additionally, the concentration stage will aim the extraction of other valuable materials such as tin (Sn) and copper (Cu) for further valorisation;
  • To produce PGMs - mainly Pt, Pd and Rh - concentrates by separating the washcoat and ceramic support of EoL autocatalysts;
  • To produce Ag-concentrates from EoL PV panels using the MDS technology.
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Refining stage optimisation

VITO (BE) is leading the development and upgrade of the Microwave-assisted leaching (MWAL) and the Gas-diffusion electro-crystallization (GDEx) technologies for extracting PGMs from EoL autocatalysts.

Discover more

Preliminary measures to accommodate the pre-commercial units

Although the validation of the pre-commercial pilot is set to be launched in June 2024, Monolithos (GR), has already prepared its premises to accommodate the pre-commercial MW leaching and GDEx units, following the safety and hygiene protocols. 

Read more »

Valorisation of Precious Metals into single PMs streams

During this first year of the project, TECNALIA (ES) has been working on the use of Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) for the extraction and separation of PMs (i.e. Pd, Pt, Rh, Ag and Au) from different input streams: spent autocatalysts, low and mid-grade PCBAs and EoL PV panels, as well as residual matrices from the concentration stage of the PEACOC project (i.e. Sn and Cu concentrate).

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Peacoc Reads 

A collection of summer reads recommended by the project partners that will allow you to stay ‘fully versed’ in the knowledge generated within PEACOC. This section includes scientific publications, studies, conference papers and articles where the project was featured during the first 12 months. Enjoy!

Numerical investigation of the precipitation of metal ions by the gas-diffusion electrocrystallisation (GDEx) process

GDEx is an electrochemical process for the precipitation of metal ions in an electrolyte, by their reaction with chemical species produced at a gas-diffusion electrode (GDE). This process is one of the best available technologies for metal recovery from complex dilute solutions.

Discover the study

Outcomes of the clustering event “The use of deep eutectic solvents and ionic liquids for metal recovery”

On Wednesday, 11 May 2022, four Horizon 2020 projects PEACOCION4RAW
CROCODILE and TARANTULA, co-organised the clustering workshop “The use of ionic liquids (IL) and Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) for metal recovery’’. The event highlighted the latest Research and Development results and experts discussed the challenges and opportunities for the recycling and recovery of technologically critical and valuable metals with the use of ILs and DES.

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Recovery of copper, zinc and lead from photovoltaic panel residue 

In this scientific publication, the extraction and recovery of the base metals copper, zinc and lead from a copper-rich photovoltaic panel residue was investigated. This work is the results of a collaboration between the PEACOC project, wherein VITO investigated the MW-assisted metal extraction step, and the MSCA-ETN SULTAN project, wherein an Early Stage Researcher of the KU Leuven developed a novel metal recovery route that include a gas-liquid separation techniques of ion flotation. The process allowed for the removal and selective recovery of a large fraction of the base metals Cu, Zn and Pb, which paves the way to an near-zero-waste recycling process of PV panel residue. In a next step, VITO will develop within PEACOC the subsequent step to recover the precious metal silver from the purified residue.

Discover this scientific publication


The ultimate list of events not to miss if you are interested in raw materials recovery and circular economy. 

EIT RawMaterials Expert Forum

27-29 June 2022, Berlin, Germany

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3rd Symposium on Circular Economy and Sustainability

27-29 June 2022, Chania, Crete (Greece)

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EIT Doctoral Summer School on Entrepreneurship in a Circular Economy

4-8 July, Krakow, Poland

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ICPRM 2022: International Conference on Processing of Raw Materials

28-29 July 2022, Istanbul, Turkey

Read more

The Circular Week is back!

3-9 Oct 2022, Warsaw, Poland

Read more
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958302.

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