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E-waste eating protein creates rare earth elements

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, in collaboration with Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL), have designed a new process, based on a naturally occurring protein, that could extract and purify rare earth elements (REE) from low-grade sources. It could offer a new avenue toward a more diversified and sustainable REE sector for the United States. The protein, lanmodulin, enables a one-step extraction and purification of (REE)s from complex metal mixtures, including electronic waste and coal byproducts.