SOLVOMET founders

Prof. Koen Binnemans (KU Leuven, Department of Chemistry)

Binnemans is a specialist in solvometallurgy. He has published 380 research articles in peer-reviewed journals (according to the ISI Web of Science Core Collection) in his scientific career, resulting in 14,800 citations and an h-index of 57 (status on 14 April 2017). The full publication list can be found here. He is the supervisor of 42 completed PhDs, with 24 on-going PhDs.

Prof. Binnemans is the coordinator of FP7 ITN EREAN and H2020 ETNs DEMETER, REDMUD and SOCRATES. He was a Steercom Member of the European Rare Earth Competency Network (ERECON), and is an ERC Advanced Grant holder (SOLCRIMET: Solvometallurgy for critical metals). He is also a Member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB)

The research lines of Koen Binnemans can be summarised by three keywords: (1) critical metals, with a focus on rare earths; (2) ionic liquids and (3) solvometallurgy (& hydrometallurgy). These research lines are not standing on their own, but are closely connected. Projects on the separation of rare earths by solvent extraction with ionic liquids illustrate these connections. A large part of the research can be described as applied coordination chemistry. Based on a knowledge and understanding of molecular sciences, new, more efficient and environmentally-friendly processes are developed for the recovery and separation of both economically valuable and critical metals, with, until now, a strong emphasis on the rare earths (lanthanides). A competitive advantage of the Binnemans group is the combined expertise of organic synthesis, coordination chemistry, inorganic spectroscopy and solvent extraction. The research activities of the Binnemans group range from very fundamental research (synthesis of ionic liquids and extractants) to strategic basic research and applied research (development of industrially relevant separation processes).

Dr. Ir. Peter Tom Jones (KU Leuven, Department of Materials Engineering)

Peter Tom Jones (Dr. Ir.) is a KU Leuven IRF (Industrial Research Fund) Senior Research Manager in the field of Sustainable Metallurgy. He obtained his (Environmental) Engineering Degree in 1996 at the KU Leuven and completed his PhD in Metallurgy in 2001 also at the KU Leuven. Subsequently he worked as a postdoc at MTM, KU Leuven. Since 2008 he is one of the 30 IRF Research Managers at the KU Leuven.

On the KU Leuven level, he is co-founder of the Centre for High Temperature Processes and Sustainable Materials Management, a Centre focusing on applied research, structurally funded through Umicore, Aperam, Recmix, Metallo-Chimique and Group Machiels. He was the valorisation officer for and Chairman of the Industrial User Committee of RARE³, the KU Leuven Knowledge Platform on rare earth recycling. Since 2014 he is the General Coordinator of SIM² KU Leuven, the cluster that brings together various research groups/departments at KU Leuven. On the Flemish level he was the lead author of the approved SIM MaRes Programme. Since January 2012 he is the President of i-Cleantech Flanders. On the EU level, Jones is the General Coordinator of the European Enhanced Landfill Mining Consortium (EURELCO) and the EU MSCA-ETN NEW-MINE project. He is also the Exploitation Manager for the EU MSCA-ETN projects EREAN, DEMETER and SOCRATES (full list here). Together with Prof. Karel Van Acker he was also involved in the KU Leuven contribution to the winning EIT KIC RawMaterials consortium.


Welcome to SOLVOMET

Solvomet Centre

SOLVOMET is KU Leuven’s Centre for Solvometallurgy. SOLVOMET’s mission is to support its industrial and RTD partners in the conceptual and practical development of more sustainable solvometallurgical separation processes and new mining chemicals, which are subsequently tested using state-of-the-art lab-scale and mini pilot-scale experimental facilities.

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