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Comparison of Bioleaching of Metals from Spent Petroleum Catalyst Using Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans

Authors: Haragobinda Srichandan, Ashish Pathak, Dong Jin Kim, Seoung-Won Lee


The present investigation deals with bioleaching of spent petroleum catalyst using At. ferrooxidans and At. thiooxidans. The spent catalyst used in the present study was pretreated with acetone to remove the oily hydrocarbons. FESEM and XPS analysis indicated the presence of metals in sulfide and oxide forms in spent catalyst. Both At. ferrooxidans and At. thiooxidans were found to be highly effective in producing the acid. Bioleaching with At. ferrooxidans and At. thiooxidans led to higher recovery of metals compare to control. During bioleaching similar recoveries of metals were obtained using At. ferrooxidans and At. thiooxidans. This might be due to the presence of metals as soluble oxides and sulphides in the spent catalyst. At the end of bioleaching, about 87-90% Ni, 34% Al, 65-73% Mo and 92-97% V were leached using above bacteria. It is elucidated that bioleaching with At. thiooxidans is comparatively more advantageous due to lower cost of sulphur.  

Keywords: Metal Recovery, Bioleaching, At. ferrooxidans, spent catalyst

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