InTechNow 116: Sponge Gets Gold from Waste Water

Gold is primarily used in electronics, where it is irreplaceable due to its unique properties. However, diminishing gold supplies and a continuous rise in the production of electronics have led the European Union to label this precious metal as a critical resource.

Considering it can take as much as a ton of ore to yield enough gold for 40 cell phones, it is no surprise that extracting this commodity from sources other than virgin mines is becoming increasingly important.

While gold can be found in a number of different sources, such as electronic waste, sea water, fresh water, waste water, and sewage sludge, there are currently no materials reported that can selectively extract gold from such complex media. (A “sponge” that can get gold out of waste water)