The REMADE Institute, a 154-member public-private partnership established by the U.S. Department of Energy, has announced a new technology license involving an innovation capable of recovering precious metals from used electronics more easily and cost-effectively.

The innovation, developed with REMADE support with an initial investment of $140 million by DOE, is part of a research and development project first funded by the institute in 2020. The proprietary process advantages, which are patent-pending, make it more cost-effective to recover precious metals from various electronics wastes destined for landfills.

The intellectual property has been exclusively licensed to Phinix LLC, the industry partner on the project. The research ultimately seeks to develop technologies to make it easier and more cost-effective to recover precious metals from personal computers, classified as electronic waste.

“The printed circuit boards found in PCs that have reached their end-of-life are among the most promising sources of gold and silver,” said Wencai Zhang, an assistant professor in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering, co-leader of the research. “We need to do everything we can to make it easier and cheaper to recover these critical minerals and enable manufacturers to reuse them.”