Sustainable recycling of precious metals


About the research

Did you know that 1 in 4 products that surround you contains precious metals? Think about your phone, laptop, or car. "Since these metals are rare and expensive, we urgently need better ways to recycle them", says Omar Martinez (VITO - KU Leuven). But that is a challenging task as these metals are often mixed with over 40 elements. Omar Martinez's PhD led to a breakthrough solution: he developed a new, sustainable method, called GDEx, which allows for the selective recovery of these precious metals, with nearly 100% efficiency.

Omar Martinez
KU Leuven - VITO

Omar Martinez Mora is defined by his curiosity. When he was a child, he once conducted an experiment where he connected two pieces of a pencil to a battery and put them into salty water, which caused some bubbles to come out. He did not know it then, but he had discovered his true passion, Electrochemistry. His inquisitive nature eventually led him to study chemistry, specializing in Electrochemistry. Pursuing his passion, he moved all the way from Mexico to VITO and KULeuven to pursue his PhD. He is now working towards creating a more sustainable future using electrochemistry to recover precious metals that would otherwise go to waste. This helps to give these materials a second chance, as they are essential to ensure a greener future.