Over 53 million tons of electronics are discarded every year, wasting $57 billion worth of recoverable metals. Typically incinerated, this e-waste releases toxic fumes, causing people serious health problems. Only 17% of e-waste is recycled because existing methods are too expensive, energy-intensive, and pollutive.
BioMetallica has developed the first eco-friendly biotechnology for recovering palladium, platinum, and rhodium at room temperature, with zero wastewater, at a competitive cost. These palladium group metals (PMGs) are rare. Indeed, one kilogram of rhodium can fetch over $145,000 in commodity markets.
BioMetallica uses genetically modified bacteria, cultivated in bioreactors, to produce biogenic chemicals that separate PMGs—and soon, gold and silver—from e-waste and spent catalytic converters. Co-founder Salman Karim, PhD, developed the technology at the National University of Singapore. He partnered with co-founder KwaDwo (Joe) Konadu Ansah-Antwi, PhD, a repeat entrepreneur, to turn e-waste into wealth.
Today, BioMetallica has a strategic partnership and an active pilot test with BR Metals Pte Ltd, the largest PMG recycler in Southeast Asia, and is currently negotiating another pilot project with an Indonesian tin mining outfit to recycle their mine tailings. The team aims to divert at least 1 million tons of e-waste from ending up at landfills over the next five to ten years.