Cheese Byproduct Transforms E-Waste into Gold

March 13, 2024

Cheese Byproduct Transforms E-Waste into Gold: ETH Zurich’s Groundbreaking Innovation

BNN Correspondents,, February 29, 2024

ETH Zurich researchers develop a novel method to extract gold from e-waste using cheesemaking byproducts, paving the way for sustainable technology.

In an astonishing leap towards sustainable technology, researchers led by Professor Raffaele Mezzenga at ETH Zurich have developed a novel method to extract gold from electronic waste using a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. This innovative approach not only promises to revolutionize gold recovery but also offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to a growing global challenge.

From Dairy to Gold: The Science Behind the Innovation

The team, including senior scientist Mohammad Peydayesh, has ingeniously utilized denatured whey proteins to create a sponge capable of extracting gold from the acid-dissolved metal parts of old computer motherboards. The method hinges on the proteins’ ability to form nanofibrils that adhere to gold ions more efficiently than to other metals. Following the absorption process, the gold ions are reduced to flakes and then melted down to form a nugget. Remarkably, the researchers obtained a 450-milligram nugget of 91 percent pure gold from just 20 motherboards, demonstrating the method’s efficiency and potential for scalability.

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