Apparatus and processes are disclosed for electrowinning metal from a fluid stream. A representative apparatus comprises at least one spouted bed reactor wherein each said reactor includes an anolyte chamber comprising an anode and configured for containing an anolyte, a catholyte chamber comprising a current collector and configured for containing a particulate cathode bed and a flowing stream of an electrically conductive metal-containing fluid, and a membrane separating said anolyte chamber and said catholyte chamber, an inlet for an electrically conductive metal-containing fluid stream; and a particle bed churning device configured for spouting particle bed particles in the catholyte chamber independently of the flow of said metal-containing fluid stream. In operation, reduced heavy metals or their oxides are recovered from the cathode particles.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Grant No. EP-D-04-022 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Grant No. DE-FG02-05ER84320 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.