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A Study on Removal of Rare Earth Elements from U.S. Coal Byproducts by Ion Exchange

Abstract

Rare earth elements are known to occur in low concentrations in U.S. coals and coal byproducts. These low concentrations may make rare earth element recovery from these materials unattractive, using only physical separation techniques. However, given the significant production of rare earths through ion exchange extraction in China, two U.S. coal byproducts were examined for ion extraction, using ammonium sulfate, an ionic liquid, and a deep eutectic solvent as lixiviants. Extraction of rare earth elements in each case produced high recoveries of rare earth elements to the solution. This suggests that in at least the cases of the materials examined, U.S. coal byproducts may be technically suitable as REE ores. More work is required to establish economic suitability.

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Acknowledgments

Portions of this work were performed under funding from DOE/National Energy Technology Laboratory (DE-FE0004002).

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Correspondence to Peter L. Rozelle.

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M.M. Mosser, C.E. Miller, and P.L. Rozelle are employed by the U.S. Department of Energy. U.S. Government work is not protected by U.S. Copyright.

Manuscript submitted August 16, 2015.

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Rozelle, P.L., Khadilkar, A.B., Pulati, N. et al. A Study on Removal of Rare Earth Elements from U.S. Coal Byproducts by Ion Exchange. Metallurgical and Materials Transactions E 3, 6–17 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40553-015-0064-7

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Keywords

  • Ionic Liquid
  • Deep Eutectic Solvent
  • Clay Size Fraction
  • Ammonium Sulfate Solution
  • Lanthanum Content