A green technology based on natural materials to recover nitrogen oxide emissions is now being tested for use in copper extraction in Chile’s Atacama Desert. The technology, developed by Austria’s Krajete was recently discovered by technology scouts from one of the world’s largest mining groups.

The group focuses on the recovery of nitrogen oxides (NOx) produced during copper mining and their further use for valuable materials. Krajete’s zeolite-based process seems to offer the optimal solution here and will now be tested in a first test plant.

The extraction of copper from mineral ores is accompanied by the emission of large quantities of nitrogen oxides (NOx). The realisation that these exhaust gases can be turned into valuable raw materials if they are intelligently recovered is accelerating this reorientation and making companies look for innovative, sustainable ways.

Optimizing natural processes

Krajete, which specialises in the development of sustainable solutions for gas extraction and purification, optimises natural processes for use in industry. For example, it succeeded in developing a zeolite-based way to remove NOx from emission gases. Together with the German Audi AG, this technology has been optimised for use on internal combustion engines in recent years.

“In fact, our process is so flexible to use, that we can adapt it to other – even large-scale industrial – requirements with little effort,” explains Dr Alexander Krajete, CEO and founder of Krajete GmbH.

The Krajete technology

“But that’s not all,” Krajete continues. “We specialise in converting problematic emissions into valuable raw materials. Our process therefore not only allows NOx to be filtered out of gas emissions, but even the recovery and concentration of these raw materials, which can then serve as a starting point for other valuable materials such as nitric acid.”

If the process proves successful in the Chilean desert, there is already talk of giant plants for NOx recovery in copper production.

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