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ReTrom: Barrel electrolysis plant for the recovery of metals

Fields of application of barrel electrolysis

Barrel electrolysis is a method for the economical recovery of metals such as copper, nickel, cadmium and zinc from process solutions. The metal is recovered in the form of pellets or deposited on scrap material, e.g. Chips, tubes and the like.

Barrel electrolysis: optimal conditions for the metal recovery

For the electrolytic deposition of metals movement and fluid exchange at the interface, in addition to the current density is crucial. Absence of these conditions, it can result in uneven and dendritic growth; the buds lead to short circuits that can destroy even anodes.

The metal precipitate is then unevenly distributed, some powdery, and contains inclusions that considerably reduces the value and especially the usability of the recovered metal. Barrel electrolysis creates optimal conditions for fluid exchange by constant circulation of the process solution.

General process description: electrolytical deposition of metals

Due to constant rotation with rolling and rubbing in barrel electrolysis plants, pieces of the cathode prevail in optimal conditions with respect to the exchange of fluids and the transport of metal ions.

The large surface area represents only a small cathodic current. Because of these advantages the technology of the barrel electrolysis avoids and prevents an irregular dendritic growth of the metal depositions. This is an important characteristic, because irregularly grown metal deposits penetrate the separator between the electrodes, which leads to a short circuits.

Furthermore, by continuous movement of the process water, on the cathodes a uniform metal deposit can be obtained. Thus on the cathodes, up to 15 times the amount of metal can be deposited.

Plant description

Standard system Type 500:

Dimensions: Total floor space plus rectifier: 1950 x 1000 x 2000 (LxWxH)
The apparatus requires only a small floor space and can be easily integrated into existing systems.

At the beginning of the coating process, the barrels are filled with metal pieces. Up to 15 times the amount of metal can be deposited on the inserted cathode pieces. Then, the barrel is started, emptied and filled again. Until the change, approx. 150 kg of metal are deposited onto the starting weight of approx. 15 kg.

By specially installed membranes, the barrel electrolysis can also be employed for other metals, such as nickel and zinc (chloride-containing solutions).


  • For copper, nickel, cadmium and zinc
  • Recovery of the metal in the form of pellets
  • Use of scrap or parts of waste (e.g. tube sections) as cathode
  • Easy handling
  • Rotary motion provides good liquid exchange and metal ion transport
  • Ratio of metal inventory to deposition is extremely high (e.g. 1:10)
  • Insoluble anodes for many diverse electrolytes
  • Reduces the load of waste water treatment
  • Saves chemicals and recovers valuable raw materials
  • High separation rate permits short payback period
  • Compact system, easy installation into existing plants
  • Ideal supplement for nickel recovery
  • Also available as a large system with vehicle system for large metal amounts

More information:

Phone +49 711 518550-130 or -141