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To the website of the SOLVOMET Group – Laboratory of Metallurgical Chemistry @ KU Leuven



SOLVOMET Group Mission

The dual mission of the SOLVOMET Group is (1) to perform excellent research in metallurgical chemistry and to educate and train young researchers in this domain and (2) to support its (industrial and RTD) partners in the conceptual and practical development of more sustainable solvometallurgical (and hydrometallurgical) separation processes and new mining chemicals, which are subsequently tested using state-of-the-art lab-scale and mini-pilot-scale experimental facilities. 


SOLVOMET Group Vision

The vision of the SOLVOMET Group is that chemistry can help to provide in a sustainable way the metals needed by future generations.

In this sense, the SOLVOMET Group takes advantage of the unique properties of organic molecules for developing more efficient and eco-friendly solvo-metallurgical and hydrometallurgical processes.





The SOLVOMET Group is led by Prof. Koen Binnemans. He is a full professor at the Department of Chemistry, specialised in metallurgical chemistry (solvometallurgy and hydrometallurgy). He has developed a core expertise in the chemistry of rare earths and other critical metals, in ionic liquids and solvent extraction (SX). He is author of more than 490 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, H-index = 70 with more than 22,500 citations. Within his academic career, he has been the (co)supervisor of 53 finished PhDs and is (co)supervisor of 24 ongoing PhDs.

As an ERC Advanced Grant holder (SOLCRIMET: Solvometallurgy for critical metals), he is co-founder of the SOLVOMET Industrial Service Centre for Solvometallurgy. He is also the main responsible of the Research Line “Sustainable metallurgical processes” in SIM² KU Leuven
He was a Steercom Member of the European Rare Earth Competency Network (ERECON) and of the Scientific Council of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK-CEN).  He is an elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (KVAB). 
Binnemans is the coordinator of multiple EU European Training networks, such as FP7 ITN EREAN (completed), H2020 ETN DEMETER (completed), ETN REDMUD (completed), METGROW+ (completed) and ETN SOCRATES. His group is partner in multiple EU H2020 projects such as ​​​​​ PLATIRUS, NEMO, CROCODILE and TARANTULA.



The SOLVOMET Group, also referred to as SOLVOMET, entails (1) the SOLVOMET Lab, joining all activities on an academic level, and (2) the SOLVOMET Industrial Service Centre, which is the valorisation and exploitation vehicle of SOLVOMET, joining all industry-focused activities, including bilateral, regional and European projects. The organisational structure of SOLVOMET is depicted below.


SOLVOMET Group Structure

As the General Coordinator (GC), Prof. dr. Koen Binnemans is in charge of the overall coordination of the SOLVOMET Group as a whole, assisted by dr. ir. Peter Tom Jones as the Exploitation Manager (EM) for project and business development and IP management. In order to make strategic decisions, SOLVOMET has installed a Management Board (MB), which consists of Prof. dr. Koen Binnemans, dr. ir. Peter Tom Jones, dr. Lieven Machiels (Research Manager) and dr. Sofía Riaño (Research Expert Solvent Extraction and Upscaling). The MB discusses the overall SOLVOMET strategy, which includes the close follow-up of the SOLVOMET budget, as well as decisions with respect to new projects, human resources and large investments. The Research Team (RT) gathers all junior and senior researchers actively working in SOLVOMET, i.e. with Prof. Koen Binnemans as (co-)supervisor, including post-docs, PhD students, research associates, MSc students and visiting students. All members of SOLVOMET support the SOLVOMET Centre. SOLVOMET interacts with the EU Project MGT team, which coordinates multiple EU MSCA-ETN and (R)IA projects and includes SOLVOMET-affiliated project managers and communication/dissemination coordinators. The SOLVOMET MB corresponds to the Steering Committee of SOLVOMET Centre. SOLVOMET is part of the Department of Chemistry and closely interacts with SIM² KU Leuven.