The present paper describes the experimental tests for the recycling of fluid catalytic cracking catalysts (FCCCs). The process aims at the recovery of cerium (Ce)and lanthanum (La)as well as the reuse of the leaching solid residue that represents the actual problem in terms of global amount landfilled every year. Landfilling is still the main choice for the handling of such catalysts. This novel process proposes an alternative recycling approach that leads to the production of synthetic zeolites, that have several industrial applications. FCCC was leached by 1.5 mol/L of HNO 3 , HCl and H 2 SO 4 solutions at 80 °C, for 2 h with a solid to liquid ratio of 20 %wt, and the two rare earth elements were recovered by precipitation with an overall yield in the range 70–80%. The solid residues from the leaching stage were used as the base material for the synthesis of the zeolites by means of a combined thermal-hydrothermal treatment. The characterization of the zeolites demonstrated that the Na-A phase was predominant over the Na-X phase. The zeolites were tested as sorbent material for CO 2 separation from CH 4 , in order to simulate the upgrading of biogas to biomethane. The maximum adsorption rate of CO 2 was 0.778 mol CO 2 /kg of zeolite at 3 bar, with a resulting CH 4 recovery of 62% and 97 %vol as purity. Since the results in adsorption of CO 2 were not satisfying, the same zeolites were used to remove heavy metals from a synthetic wastewater solution containing three metals. Equilibrium and kinetic models were also developed in order to describe the adsorption process. The maximum adsorption load was calculated by the Langmuir isotherm and resulted to be 24–32 mg/g for Ni, 52–60 mg/g for Zn and 122–181 mg/g for Cu. The results also showed that the kinetics of the adsorption process is almost fast, as after 1 h at least 95% of zinc and copper were removed, whereas the kinetics of nickel was slower for all the three zeolites. As a conclusion, the zeolites are more efficient in metal adsorption than CO 2 capture, but other applications will be tested in the future.
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