BRAIN BioXtractor

Sustainable metal extraction in the circular economy

Global demand for mineral resources is constantly growing, as is the dependence of regions like Europe on imports of precious and technology metals. At the same time, ore content in mines is decreasing, while environmental protection requirements in this sector of industry are becoming more and more stringent. Traditional recycling technologies find it hard to deliver when it comes to recovering specific metal fractions from waste streams. In Germany alone, up to three tons of gold from waste incineration ash end up in landfilling every year.

BRAIN has developed highly efficient technologies based on special microorganisms in its Green & Urban Miningprograms. For urban mining, these technologies have already been transferred from lab scale to demonstration scale in BRAIN’s BioXtractor. For green mining applications, the process has been successfully scaled up to the metric ton level in cooperation with CyPlus GmbH.

Want to know more?

If you would like to talk to us about business opportunities or learn more about our development programs, please contact us.

Meet BRAIN at:

Trade show

IFAT 2020 – World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management

7 September 2020

Biomining ’20

8 June 2020

1 ton

Year by year we end up with more than 40 Million tons of electronic trash, with one ton of computer circuit boards alone containing up to 250 grams of gold and one kilogram of silver.

1 gram

The production of 40 mobile phones, which have an average lifespan of just 2.5 years, requires around one gram of gold. About one ton of gold ore needs to be mined in order to extract the same amount of gold.

20 kilogram

In the steel and metal industries, hundreds of millions of tons of dust, sludge or cinders containing precious metals are scrapped every year. Per ton, metallurgic slags for example may contain up to 20 kilograms of gold as well as many other metals.

3 tons

Incinerator bottom ashes (IBA) partly serve as an asphalt ingredient for road building. In Germany, up to 3 tons of gold and incredible amounts of other metals end up as road surfacing every year.

The BRAIN BioXtractor:

  • is the bioeconomy game changer technology for next generation metal extraction based on biotechnology and microorganisms identified in the BRAIN BioArchive.
  • offers innovative, high-performing and safe biological process solutions.
  • provides a sustainable answer to decreasing ore grades, increased environmental protection requirements and volatile markets.
  • is ready to get explored by enterprises willing to test, co-develop and jointly commercialize or license our microorganisms or the entire technology package at their own production plants worldwide.

“The goal is to produce BRAIN BioX-gold.”

Dr. Martin Langer
Unit Head Industrial BioSolutions

Picture material

Pictures of the BioXtractor can be found on our press images page.

Press Images

EU funds BRAIN project on wet mechanical-biological treatment of secondary resources

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Bacteria instead of hammer drills – BRAIN AG extracts precious metals from waste

Technologieland Hessen Schaufenster
(Article in German)

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BioXtractor: sustainable precious metal extraction with a BRAIN

Mining Technology, 24 April 2019

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BRAIN BioXtractor: Biobased Metal Extraction for the Circular Economy


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Press release, 25 September 2018

BRAIN BioXtractor short-listed twice for the 2018 Global Game Changers Awards

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Hessenschau, 20.11.2018

Obtaining raw materials with bacteria

View film (> from min. 17)


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BRAIN Publication

BRAIN BioXtractor Flyer

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