Leaching Of Petroleum Catalysts With Cyanide For Palladium Recovery
Description:The U.S. Bureau of Mines has tested cyanide leaching for recovery of palladium (Pd) from spent petroleum processing catalysts. Three different catalyst samples were supplied by a spent-catalyst processor. These catalysts consisted of a zeolite base and contained 0.4 to 0.7 pct Pd. During alkaline cyanide leaching, the catalysts exhibited ion-exchange properties due to their zeolite matrices. Hydrogen ions were released from the zeolite in exchange for sodium ions in solution, resulting in a significant decrease in solution pH. This could present a safety hazard because of the potential for release of toxic hydrogen cyanide gas. A pretreatment step where the catalysts were contacted with a 1.0M sodium hydroxide solution was found to prevent the pH shift from occurring. Following the sodium hydroxide pretreatment, two stages of leaching at 160 °C with solution containing 1 pct sodium cyanide and 0.1[M] sodium hydroxide gave at least 75 and up to 95 pct Pd recovery. The Pd was quantitatively recovered from the leach solution by thermal decomposition in an autoclave at 250°C for 1 h. The Pd content of the precipitate was over 50 pct. Thermal decomposition also decreased the total cyanide content of the barren solution to less than 0.2 mg/L. The catalyst leach residues passed the Federal Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure and the California Waste Extraction Test, indicating that landfill disposal of the leach residues would be acceptable.
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