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Mining and Materials Engineering Research Day featuring seminar on Supercritical Fluid Extraction for Recovery of Rare Earth Elements from Secondary Resources

Published: 18 April 2023
12 May 2023, 2 pm - 5 pm, LM Trottier Building (ENGTR) - Room 0100

We kindly invite you to join us for our first Mining and Materials Engineering Research Day. The event will feature a seminar by Professor Gisele Azimi (University of Toronto), who will present her work on rare earth element recovery from secondary resources. The seminar will start at 2 pm in LM Trottier Building (ENGTR), Room 0100 and will be followed by a a graduate student awards ceremony and a poster session with a reception showing research from our department and beyond!

gisele azimi


Professor Azimi's seminar is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Urban Mining Innovations. She is jointly appointed by the Departments of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 from the department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. Before returning to the University of Toronto as a faculty member in 2014, she completed two postdoctoral appointments at MIT in the departments of Materials Science and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. She has been recognized with several young researcher awards for excellence in Research, Teaching, and Leadership, namely “Canada Research Chair (Tier 2)”, “Emerging Leaders of Chemical Engineering (Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering)”, “The 2020 CSChE Innovation Award”, “The 2020 Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering Lectureship Award”, “The 2020 TMS Young Leaders Award (Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS))”, “McCharles Prize for Early Career Research Distinction”, “FASE Early Career Teaching Award”, and “Impact Teacher of the Year Award”.


There is a significant global push towards recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) to enable the circular economy. Conventional recycling processes rely on pyrometallurgy or hydrometallurgy. Pyrometallurgical recycling typically requires high energy consumption and reaction temperature and generates greenhouse gas emissions. Hydrometallurgical processes also face the drawback of being reagent intensive, often requiring the large consumption of strong acids and organic solvents as well as the production of secondary streams of potentially hazardous wastes. An emerging green separation technology is supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) that can recycle secondary resources at a low cost, with low energy consumption and high recovery efficiency. Supercritical fluids are desirable for extraction processes because of their combination of gas-like and liquid-like properties, tuneable properties, and simple separation by phase transformation. Among supercritical fluids, supercritical carbon dioxide (sc-CO2) has shown promising results for the extraction of rare earth elements (REEs) from synthetic feeds and as well as secondary feeds. In comparison with hydrometallurgical processes, SCFE does not generate hazardous wastewater and acid fumes. The CO2 solvent can be easily separated from products through depressurization and recycled back to the process. In this talk, the application of sc-CO2 for the recovery of REEs from waste neodymium iron boron magnet and fluorescent lamps will be presented.


2:00 pm to 3:00 pm: seminar
3:00 pm to 3:15 Pm: award ceremony
3:15 PM to 5:00 pm: reception, poster display, networking.

The event is co-sponsored by the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative (MSSI), the McGill Institute for Advanced Materials (MIAM) and the McGill Centre for Innovation in Storage and Conversion of Energy.

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