While the technology for taking simple carbon materials like coal and using the time tested methods of heat and pressure found in nature to turn them into diamonds and other precious gems has been around since the 1940's, Russia has long since mastered the process and is recognized around the world for their ability to process synthetic stones in flawless grades.
Yet even as the mystical and sometimes scientific process of alchemy has been part of mankind going back thousands of years, the ability to take mundane materials and turn them into valuable elements on a large scale has been a roadblock for the art form to become full scaled to make the process widely profitable.
On Nov. 22 a new discovery out of the Russian Academy of Sciences shows that engineers there can now extract gold from coal and provide a valuable by-product from an energy source that provides power to billions of people around the world.
Researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Far East branch say they are building a facility to make gold out of coal.
Although the science is no fairy tale, to the dismay of business owners, the process is not as productive as they might hope – burning a ton of coal yields one gram of gold, tops.
At present, the scientists are setting the bar even lower, expecting a yield of 0.5 grams, or 1,500 rubles, per ton.
“We burn a ton – we gain 1,500 rubles,” Oleg Ageev, CEO of Complex Innovative Technologies of the Amur Scientific Center, said in a press statement.
At current exchange rates, that is roughly $23 US dollars.
The discovery of gold lacing in coal is the result of 15 years of study from different fields.
To create the gold, smoke created in burning coal goes through a hundred-fold purifying system. The residue is then flushed through a filter with water, allowing a gold concentrate to be extracted that is later used to make the precious metal.
The scientists are planning to test the gold-making equipment in one of the Amur region’s boiler houses next year, and ultimately hope to receive a grant to develop and implement an industrial grade device.
“We plan to use municipal boiler houses to implement our filtering system because they burn about eight to 10 thousand tons in a season, and that’s potentially 10 kilos of gold.” - Russia Today