Removal of mercury from sulfuric acid production


Chalmers tekniska högskola


Björn Wickman



Purpose and goal

The project will upscale and test a newly developed mercury removal technique based on electrochemical alloy formation for treatment of sulfuric acid produced in smelters. The technique is a result of recent research at Chalmers University of Technology. We will assemble a prototype to scale up from 50 ml experiments to treat 20 liters of sulfuric acid with an expected initial mercury concentration of about 1000 g Hg/kg. New electrode material with high surface area will be developed as well as a list of requirements to prepare for a Pilot Project together with Boliden.

Expected results and effects

The results from this project will take us to TRL 5 and provide important knowledge on how to scale up the technique and implement a Pilot Project on industrial scale, reaching an even higher TRL. Finding suitable materials and development of high surface area electrodes will be an important step in order to scale up from current batch experiments to industry relevant scale. The project will contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3, 6, 9 and 12 and we also believe that it can contribute to affect policies for more stringent requirements on mercury concentrations in sulfuric acid.

Planned approach and implementation

The project will be led by Chalmers who in close cooperation with the startup company Atium will organize the work. Boliden will have a central role as industrial partner with knowledge and expertise within the smelters and provide relevant acid. The Swedish Environmental Institute IVL will assist with analysis of mercury and Chalmers Innovation Office will act as advisor. The project consists of a number of work packages including project coordination, development of prototypes and electrodes as well as the formation of a consortium and preparation for the Pilot Project.