Porous materials for the recovery of rare earth elements, platinum group metals, and other valuable metals: a review

Sidra Iftekhar, Golnaz Heidari, Neda Amanat, Ehsan Nazarzadeh Zare, Muhammad Bilal Asif, Mahnaz Hassanpour, Vesa Pekka Lehto, Mika Sillanpaa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The demand for valuable metals such as rare earth elements and platinum group metals is rising fast in the context of the depletion of natural resources and international conflicts. Moreover, the future circular economy requires that raw material be recycled from waste by advanced methods such as adsorption by innovative porous materials. Here, we review the recovery of metals using porous materials with focus on adsorbent properties, factors governing the performance, and adsorption mechanisms. Porous materials include carbon-based, oxygen-containing, organic polymer-based, nanoparticle-based, ionic liquid-based, and composite material-based adsorbents. Both soft and hard templating methods yield mesoporous porous materials, yet enhanced metal recovery is achieved by cross-linking and metal-doping to improve electrostatic interaction and complexation. Compared to other porous materials, metal–organic and covalent organic frameworks are effective for metal recovery under a wide range of operating conditions, e.g., pH, but the pollution of effluents should be prevented. The major adsorption mechanisms are understood, but mechanisms of spatial nanoconfinement are poorly known.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3697-3746
Number of pages50
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • Adsorption
  • Critical metals
  • Nanoconfinement effect
  • Porous materials
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry


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