24 August 2023

Scientists of the SEC “Yenisey Siberia” have developed a method for obtaining germanium concentrate from carbon raw materials

Researchers at the School of Non-Ferrous Metals of Siberian Federal University (SibFU) have developed a method for obtaining germanium concentrate from carbon raw materials.  The main raw material is germanium–containing lignite, a type of young brown coal that lies in the Yenisey in the Lower Angara region. Their research was carried out within the framework of the priority areas of the SEC Yenisey Siberia – new industrial technologies and greening of the economy of the macroregion.

Germanium is a strategically important element that is used in the production of semiconductors, optic fiber cables, IR optics, electronic and computer equipment, sensors of radiation monitoring systems and other equipment.

SibFU scientists proposed to obtain germanium concentrate by burning lignite in a fluidized bed. The degree of extraction of germanium from raw materials reaches 85%. Along with germanium, an increased content (up to 1.2%) of rare earth metals was recorded in lignite combustion products: samarium, yttrium, thulium, cerium and others, which significantly increases interest in this type of raw material and the proposed method of its processing.

 “The approaches to obtaining germanium developed by the research team can also be used for processing carbon raw materials of technogenic origin, for example, large–tonnage aluminum production waste in the form of carbon concentrate – the product of utilization of coal foam of the electrolyzer. This will reduce the amount of waste and at the same time extract the valuable component of gallium contained in them in large quantities,” said head of the project Alexander Shimansky.