Recovery of Gallium from production waste in the semiconductor industry

In the EcoGaIN research project, G.E.O.S. took up the challenge of recycling gallium (Ga) from diluted, concentrated, acidic and basic process waste waters and from solid residues from the semiconductor industry.

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) is the basic material for high-performance transmitter and receiver modules in telecommunications, e.g. for mobile phones and tablet computers, as well as for optoelectronic components such as LEDs and lasers. Only approx. 8% of the originally used GaAs is ultimately found in the final products, approx. 50% is recycled, the rest is lost. Within the project, the partners have developed economic processes for the various gallium-containing waste materials that allow almost 100 % of the gallium to be recovered for re-use in the industry.

G.E.O.S. acted as coordinator of the project, focussing on the following tasks:

  • Coordination and organisation of the works as well as formal coordination between the project partners
  • Technology development of gallium-containing solids through to an intermediate gallium-enriched product
  • Enrichment and extraction of gallium from diluted process water solutions on a semi-industrial scale
  • Integration of the process stages into a standardised technology




Das Projekt wurde gefördert durch das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung in der Fördermaßnahme r4 – wirtschaftsstrategische Rohstoffe – Forschung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (FONA).