In-Line Copper Recovery Technology

EPA Grant Number: R825370C069
Subproject: this is subproject number 069 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R825370
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)
Center Director: Crittenden, John C.
Title: In-Line Copper Recovery Technology
Investigators: Semmens, Michael J. , Dillon, Carla
Institution: University of Minnesota
EPA Project Officer: Klieforth, Barbara I
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 1999
RFA: Exploratory Environmental Research Centers (1992) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT) , Targeted Research


The objective of this project was to investigate the ability of Continuous Deionization (CDI) to recover copper sulfate and purified water from acid copper electroplating rinse waters for reuse within the same process.


To meet the project objectives, the following tasks were identified:

1) Process Review - Review operating parameters and current literature.
2) Bench-scale Testing - Run experiments using a bench-scale CDI unit under various conditions of operation. The solutions for testing will be those typically encountered in printed circuit media fabrication facilities.
3) Final Report Preparation - Prepare a detailed report of the technical and economic feasibility of CDI for in-line copper recovery.

This project has been completed. A literature review of the CDI process review was completed and the operating parameters and treatment objectives for high strength plating rinse waters was determined. Bench-scale experiments for both batch and single-pass flow regimes were designed and completed using synthetic copper sulfate rinse waters. Three different modules of varying configurations were tested under different conditions to identify the influence of the ion exchange resins. A pilot study was also completed to evaluate the effectiveness of the process on a real plating rinse water.

Expected Results:

Copper electroplating is a common metal finishing process. Copper plating from copper sulfate solutions is a primary and integral process in the manufacture of printed circuit media. These copper electroplating operations involve the generation of copper contaminated rinse waters that usually cannot be discharged without undergoing some form of treatment. Presently, two common types of treatment processes for copper-laden rinse water are hydroxide precipitation and ion exchange.

Hydroxide precipitation requires the addition of polymers, acids, and a hydroxide source. Wastewater and sludge are generated. Typically, the sludge will require disposal as a hazardous waste. Treatment by ion exchange will require regeneration of the resin by acids that will require additional treatment prior to disposal.

It is expected that the successful use of the CDI process for copper sulfate and purified water recovery would allow the discharge of pollutants from acid copper electroplating rinses to be eliminated. It would also eliminate the need to purchase, handle, and eventually dispose of treatment chemicals presently used in conventional and ion exchange treatment of these rinse waters.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this subproject: View all 1 publications for this subprojectView all 155 publications for this center

Supplemental Keywords:

technology for sustainable environment, environmental chemistry, clean technology, environmental engineering, pollution prevention, cleaner production, continuous deionization, copper recovery, electroplating, wastewater , industrial waste, electroplating, metal finishing., RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, computing technology, Economics and Business, pollution prevention, Environmental Engineering, industrial process design, in-process changes, in-process waste minimization, industrial design for environment, chemical process safety, occupational safety, life cycle analysis, industrial wastewater , in-line copper recovery, cleaner production, environmentally conscious manufacturing, green design, pollution prevention design tool, dry machining, environmentally friendly technology, decision making, physico-chemical properties, clean technology, computer science, electroplating, cost benefit, industrial process, industry pollution prevention research, process modification, information technology, innovative technology, life cycle assessment, outreach and education, industrial innovations, environmentally conscious design, green technology, decision support tool

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • Final

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R825370    EERC - National Center for Clean Industrial and Treatment Technologies (CenCITT)

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