Last week, a President of Estonia, Mr. Alar Karis honored BiotaTec with a visit to our Biomining Demo Plant, where highly memorable hours were filled with insightful talks and presentations.
According to Mr. Alar Karis, President of the Republic, the demand for rare earth elements will only increase during the green transition, but related reserves in deposits are rapidly dwindling. President Karis agreed that new solutions must be found for extracting metals from different wastes, since legacy methods are very energy-intensive and costly. President acknowledged the scientists in Tartu who have developed new technological steps that allow rare earth elements to be extracted with the help of micro-organisms from waste streams such as bauxite residue, a leftover of the aluminum production process.
Over the past year, BiotaTec has made several breakthroughs in developing technologies for the biomining of metals. As a result, novel methods can extract metals that are critical for modern technologies, such as vanadium, scandium, neodymium, and praseodymium, as well as precious metals, palladium, and gold much faster and more environmentally friendly than before from discarded electronics (e-waste), mining and industrial waste and low-metal ores.
“A successful transition to renewable energy sources, as well as the digital transformation, will depend on the availability of many of the metals that are critical raw materials. At the same time, traditional metallurgy methods are polluting and energy-intensive, which is why companies are encouraged to look for new technologies through higher taxation of legacy industrial solutions. As biomining is more environmentally friendly and has low energy consumption, the demand for new biomining solutions has exploded in the world,” explained Priit Jõers, Chief Scientific Officer at BiotaTec OÜ.