Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generation is a global problem. Despite the growing awareness and deterring legislation, most of the WEEE is disposed improperly, i.e. landfilled or otherwise shipped overseas, and treated in sub-standard conditions. Informal recycling of WEEE has catastrophic effects on humans and the environment. WEEE contains considerable quantities of valuable metals such as base metals, precious metals and rare earth elements (REE). Metal recovery from WEEE is conventionally carried out by pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical methods.
In this PhD research, novel metal recovery technologies from WEEE are investigated. Using acidophilic and cyanide-generating bacteria, copper and gold were removed from crushed electronic waste with removal efficiencies of 98.4 and 44.0%, respectively. The leached metals in solution were recovered using sulfidic precipitation and electrowinning separation techniques. Finally, a techno-economic assessment of the technology was studied. This research addresses the knowledge gap on two metal extraction approaches, namely chemical and biological, from a secondary source of metals. The essential parameters of the selective metal recovery processes, scale-up potential, techno-economic and sustainability assessment have been studied.
Arda received his B.Eng. in Environmental Engineering from Istanbul University, Turkey in 2009. The title of the final thesis was ''Treatment of Pharmaceutical Waste Water by Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) Processes''. He completed his M.Sc. studies at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2013 with merits, his thesis was entitled ''Adaptation Measures to Climate Change in the Eastern Mediterranean with a Focus on Water Resources'' supervised by Prof. Peter Wilderer. In his professional career, Arda has experience as a consultant, researcher and project engineer; including GFA Consulting Group (Hamburg, Germany), Rachel Carson Center (Munich, Germany) and Istanbul Water and Sewage Administration (Istanbul, Turkey). Between October 2013 and November 2016, Arda conducted his Ph.D. research at the Pollution Prevention and Resource Recovery (PPRR) chair group of Environmental Engineering Water Technology department, led by Prof. Piet Lens, at UNESCO-IHE (Delft, the Netherlands). Currently, he is employed at the electronics manufacturing industry as an environmental management expert.