Innovate UK has backed Tetronics International with a £600,000 grant to develop the UK’s first integrated plasma facility to recover precious metals from electronic waste.
The plant, part of a £1m project to retrieve platinum group metals, gold and silver, is estimated to open in mid-2016.
Plasma smelting technology will convert raw material into inert products while producing lower volumes of exhaust gas than other recycling technologies such as incineration.
Innovate UK is a Government organisation that aims to fund and support businesses favouring sustainable economic growth.
Graeme Rumbol, chief executive of Tetronics International, said: “The British economy is missing out on a billion pounds simply because we are not recovering the value found in electronic waste in an efficient way.”
It is estimated that, in the next five years, 5.6 million tonnes of electronic products will be purchased in the UK.
These products are expected to include components that contain more than 30 tonnes of gold, 600 tonnes of silver and more than three tonnes of platinum group metals. The estimated market value of these materials is over £1bn.