Krajete GmbH’s nitrogen oxide emission recovery technology is now being tested for use in copper extraction in Chile’s Atacama Desert, the Austria-based company says.
The technology, developed by Krajete and perfected in collaboration with Audi AG, was recently discovered by technology scouts from one of the world’s largest mining groups, it says. The group focuses on the recovery of nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced during copper mining and the further use for valuable materials.
Krajete’s zeolite-based process offers the optimal solution here and will now be tested in a first test plant, the company said.
The extraction of copper from mineral ores is accompanied by the emission of large quantities of NOx, but Krajete believes it can turn these gases into valuable raw materials.
The company, which specialises in the development of sustainable solutions for gas extraction and purification, optimises natural processes for use in industry. For example, it succeeded in developing a zeolite-based way to remove NOx from emission gases. Together with Germany-based Audi AG, this technology has been optimised for use on internal combustion engines in recent years.
Dr Alexander Krajete, CEO and Founder of Krajete GmbH, said: “In fact, our process is so flexible to use that we can adapt it to other – even large-scale industrial – requirements with little effort.”
Krajete continued: “Our process…not only allows NOx to be filtered out of gas emissions, but even the recovery and concentration of these raw materials, which can then serve as a starting point for other valuable materials such as nitric acid.”
The principle of the Krajete technology is the physical binding of NOx to a specially prepared zeolite matrix. From this, the gases filtered out can then be recovered cheaply and easily in concentrated form.
“And the best thing about it is that the zeolite survives this process completely undamaged and can be used again,” Krajete says. “It’s a sustainable principle that turns waste gases into valuable materials.”
The mining company’s technology scouts looked at a significant number of companies for solutions for sustainable recovery of the NOx emitted during copper extraction, according to Krajete, before settling on the solution the Austria-based company is pioneering.
If the process proves successful in this setting, large plants are already being discussed for NOx recovery in copper production. Structures measuring 14 sq.km could be erected that would serve solely to recover the NOx.