Gold Recovery from E-Waste by Porous Porphyrin–Phenazine Network Polymers

T. S. Nguyen, Y. Hong, N. A. Dogan, C. T. Yavuz*
Chem. Mater., 32, 12, 5343–5349 (2020).
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c01734

Gold recovery from electronic waste could prevent excessive mining with toxic extractants and provide a sustainable path for recycling precious metals. Unfortunately, no viable recycling is practiced, except burning electronic circuit boards in underdeveloped countries, mainly because of the lack of chemical scavengers as adsorbents. Here, we report the synthesis of a family of porphyrin–phenazine-based polymers and their gold-capturing properties as well as application in gold recovery from actual e-waste. The polymers show high selectivity toward gold as well as other precious metals. The Au(III) adsorption isotherms were well-fitted to the Langmuir adsorption model and proportionality between porosity and uptake capacity was observed. Solution pH values and illumination conditions were shown to have influences on the performance of the adsorbents with the highest capacity of 1.354 g/g obtained in acidic pH and under continuous UV irradiation. Such a remarkable capacity of 7 times the theoretical estimate was achieved through photochemical adsorption–reduction mechanism supported by the observed suppressing effect of oxidant on gold-capturing ability. The adsorbents are robust and recyclable, a significant advantage over other emerging materials.
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