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Thai scientists create recycling tools to tap Bt30bn e-waste bonanza


Thailand is developing technology to extract rare-earth metals from recycled industrial and household waste to serve high-tech industries.

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The focus is on tapping the waste to extract high-value metals, ranging from rare-earth elements to gold, silver and platinum, said Teerawut Tunnukij, senior metallurgical engineer at the Department of Primary Industries and Mines (DPIM).

His department has already succeeded in creating technology to recycle neodymium from electronic waste. Neodymium is a key component in high-power magnets needed for electronic equipment and the engines of electric vehicles.

The DPIM also plans to extract nano copper oxide from electronic waste, such as copper from plants that produce electricity transmission cables. Nano copper oxide is a key material for coating medical equipment to make it bacteria-resistant.

The department will also conduct research and development on special-grade titanium alloys used in robotic technology.

The DPIM has so far developed 55 prototype recycling technologies and is working on another six to eight prototypes per year. The new recycling tech is transferred to around 300 companies every year.

Thailand generates 500,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year, 80,000 tonnes of which is from industrial factories. The 500,000 tonnes of e-waste contains recyclable metal worth an estimated Bt30 billion.

Published : September 13, 2020

By : Watchara Pusayanawin The Nation