Extraction and Recovery of Pure Nickel Metal From Hazardous Plating Sludge

EPA Contract Number: 68D01013
Title: Extraction and Recovery of Pure Nickel Metal From Hazardous Plating Sludge
Investigators: May, William
Small Business: Climax Research Services
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2001 through September 1, 2001
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Sludge waste from many plating operations is classified as a hazardous waste. Its disposal is a major environmental concern. In this proposal, the nickel values in sludge that result from electroless nickel plating and from chromium plating will be extracted and recovered as pure nickel metal. The sludge first will be converted into a purified nickel carbonate using an innovative combination of pyrometallurgical, hydrometallurgical, and mineral processing techniques. The sludge cannot be converted directly to a metallurgically usable product because of the relatively high concentration of metallic and nonmetallic impurities it contains. Climax Research Services' proposed innovative recovery procedure removes these impurities from the sludge waste and ultimately generates a purified nickel oxide. The purified nickel oxide then is reduced to form nickel metal powder. This powder can be used in nickel-metal hydride batteries for electrical power generation, or it can be briquetted and used in the nonferrous metal foundry industry. Solid wastes generated throughout the processing will be converted in an environmentally acceptable manner into a vitrified product. The composition of the pure metal will meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) specification for pure nickel metal.

The U.S. metallurgical industry imports 100 percent of the nickel metal that it consumes. The recovery of nickel metal values from hazardous sludge waste by the proposed process will offset nickel metal imports. Metallurgical applications for the pure metal include nickel base alloys for high-temperature gas turbine engine components, nickel base oxidation-resistant alloys for use in electrical resistance heating, most corrosion-resistant nickel base alloys for the chemical and oil industries, and hardfacing alloys for wear and corrosion resistance. Following development in Phase II of a commercially viable route for production of a material that meets ASTM specification, a well-established supplier of metallic raw materials will assist in marketing the pure metal to the foundry industry and to the powder metal industry.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, hazardous waste, nickel, metal, chromium, engineering, chemistry, EPA, metal recovery., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Chemistry, HAPS, Hazardous Waste, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, Hazardous, 33/50, Environmental Engineering, plating sludge, cleaner production, nickel plating, nickel oxide, mineral processing technique, pyrometallurgical processing technique, metal recovery , hazardous plating sludge, metal recovery, metal plating industry, hazardous sludge, chromium plating sludge, pollution prevention, extraction of metals, nickel & nickel compounds, sludge

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final