Prof. Koen Binnemans (KU Leuven, Department of Chemistry) is a specialist in solvometallurgy. He has published 460 research articles in peer-reviewed journals (according to the ISI Web of Science Core Collection) in his scientific career, resulting in 19,900 citations and an h-index of 67 (status on 16 April 2019). The full publication list can be found here. He is the supervisor of 48 completed PhDs, with 20 on-going PhDs.
The research lines of Koen Binnemans can be summarised by three keywords: (1) critical metals, with a focus on rare earths; (2) ionic liquids and (3) solvometallurgy (&hydrometallurgy). These research lines are not standing on their own, but are closely connected. Projects on the separation of rare earths by solvent extraction with ionic liquids illustrate these connections. A large part of the research can be described as applied coordination chemistry. Based on a knowledge and understanding of molecular sciences, new, more efficient and environmentally-friendly processes are developed for the recovery and separation of both economically valuable and critical metals, with, until now, a strong emphasis on the rare earths (lanthanides). A competitive advantage of the Binnemans group is the combined expertise of organic synthesis, coordination chemistry, inorganic spectroscopy and solvent extraction. The research activities of the Binnemans group range from very fundamental research (synthesis of ionic liquids and extractants) to strategic basic research and applied research (development of industrially relevant separation processes).