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Microbial Leaching Process to Recover Valuable Metals from Spent Petroleum Catalyst Using Iron Oxidizing Bacteria

Authors: Debabrata Pradhan, Dong J. Kim, Jong G. Ahn, Seoung W. Lee


Spent petroleum catalyst from Korean petrochemical industry contains trace amount of metals such as Ni, V and Mo. Therefore an attempt was made to recover those trace metal using bioleaching process. Different leaching parameters such as Fe(II) concentration, pulp density, pH, temperature and particle size of spent catalyst particle were studied to evaluate their effects on the leaching efficiency. All the three metal ions like Ni, V and Mo followed dual kinetics, i.e., initial faster followed by slower rate. The percentage of leaching efficiency of Ni and V were higher than Mo. The leaching process followed a diffusion controlled model and the product layer was observed to be impervious due to formation of ammonium jarosite (NH4)Fe3(SO4)2(OH)6. In addition, the lower leaching efficiency of Mo was observed due to a hydrophobic coating of elemental sulfur over Mo matrix in the spent catalyst.

Keywords: Bioleaching, diffusion control, shrinking core, spentpetroleum catalyst.

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