The creation and destruction of electronics is a nasty yet unavoidable business. The creation involves mining for metals and the destruction entails polluting the environment. This is a growing global problem. What if there were a non-toxic, low-energy, scalable, and less expensive process to extract these metals out of the earth and electronics waste?
We’re thrilled to be working with Descycle, a clean technology company developing “Green” metals processing based on a novel class of chemistry, Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) – simply mixtures of salts without water, in which metals behave differently than in water-based systems. Battery metals (e.g. nickel, copper, cobalt, rare earths, etc.); precious metals (e.g. gold, silver, palladium, etc.) can all be extracted through this process. This technology can obviate the use of pollutive smelters, toxic chemicals, and strong acids in metals processing.
Descycle has teamed up with mining companies and data center decommissioning partners to be the first-mover in many of these markets. The value of the positive environmental impact alone is hard to quantify. What is much easier to quantify is the value of the gold, palladium, etc. that is guaranteed to be in the e-waste. One ton of printed circuit boards will yield 253 grams of gold, 62 grams of. Palladium, and 1.2 grams of silver. We know this because we put in there. Mining a ton of stone might yield 9 grams of gold on a good day but we always strike gold in electronics waste.
We’ve known the Descycle geologists and management team for over 10 years. They have a long track record in finance and mining and are also investors in Descycle. There’s also great potential that eutectic processes possess in extracting iron, zinc, aluminum, arsenic, mercury, lead, chromium, and sulphur from contaminated environments. We’re elated to join Descycle in addressing one of the world’s biggest problems.