S. Korean scientists develop protein absorbent that collects rare earth elements from steel slag
A Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology research team has developed a protein absorbent that can collect rare earth elements from steel slag, an industrial by-product.
The research team succeeded in selectively collecting rare earth elements while reusing the protein absorbent five times without a solvent by integrating proteins that can be crumpled or loosened depending on temperature with those that can selectively attach or detach from rare earth elements.
Due to the protein absorbent’s biodegradability, environmental pollution is minimized.
The researchers succeeded in collecting more than 80 percent of rare earth elements from 15 different types of rare earth existing in non-metallic steel slag, a pig iron and steel smelting process waste by-product.