Germanium Extraction from Electronic Wastes Using an Environment-Friendly Hydrometallurgical Process

Case ID:

Hydrometallurgy is a technique within the field of extractive metallurgy, the obtaining of metals from their ores. Hydrometallurgy involves the use of aqueous solutions for the recovery of metals from ores, concentrates, and recycled or residual materials. The focus of this study is on an environmental hydrometeorological recycling process of Germanium (Ge) from electronic wastes. For this purpose, the dissolution factor is considered, and a type of weak acid (acetic acid) is used to extract Ge from the electronic wastes, which has the lowest impact on the humans and the environment.

Results show that there are significant opportunities to meet the future demand of Germanium (Ge) by concentrating recovery efforts in the extraction and beneficiation/smelting/refining stages. Up to now, the existing studies about the recovery of Ge mainly focused on the hydrometallurgical processes to extract Ge, followed by a process to separate Ge from other elements contained in leachates. The negative point of those methods is the high consumption of strong reagents. Hydrometallurgy uses strong inorganic/organic acids or caustic watery solutions to selectively dissolve and precipitate metals. The goal of this method is to use a technique that avoids the strong reagents that are not only harmful to the environment but also very toxic to humans. Some electronic waste recovery methods come with severe environmental implications such as open burning, acid leaching, uncontrolled dumping of hazardous elements and hazardous wastes, etc.


  • Germanium extraction
  • Hydrometallurgical process


  • Safer for humans
  • Environmentally safe
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Jace Langen
Licensing Manager
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Fatemeh Molaei
Hossein Siavoshi
Rasoul Khosravi