Conversion of uranium hexafluoride and recovery of U from ionic liquid


Described are methods for the recovery of uranium from uranium hexafluoride dissolved directly into ionic liquids.

Inventors: David W. Hatchett & Kenneth R. Czerwinski

Hatchett: His expertise includes Electrochemistry, Materials, Chemical Sensor, Catalysis. On top of that, his research focuses on electrochemistry of materials with applications in fuel cell catalysis, lanthanide/actinide materials, and polymer metal composites.

Czerwinski: His current research is centered on understanding the chemical speciation and coordination of actinides and technetium compounds for exploratory and applied studies. Dr. Czerwinski was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2012 for his distinguished contributions to actinide and fission product chemistry.

The Invention: 

This invention provides methods for recovering uranium. In one aspect, the methods include dissolving uranium hexafluoride directly into an ionic liquid at concentrations greater than OM and less than or equal to 0.5M; and applying a potential to the ionic liquid to deposit uranium onto an electrode as a metal.

In another aspect, the methods comprise dissolving uranium hexafluoride directly into an ionic liquid solvent at concentrations ≥0.5M to form a solid precipitate in an ionic liquid solution; separating the solid precipitate from the ionic liquid solution; and thermal processing the solid precipitate.


  • Two recovery paths for the uranium have been achieved are precipitation and electrochemical reduction.
  • The ionic liquid may be any combination of cation and anion.
  • Methods comprise an electrochemical reduction. 
  • Comprise precipitation of a uranium salt, which may be further refined to uranium metal.

Market Opportunity: 

There has been a significant growth of the use of ionic liquids in multiple industries and their market is valued at about $40.M in 2021 and anticipated to reach $84M by 2029. The projected CAGR is 9.8% during this period. As for the Uranium demand the market is also expected to grow, “The Reference Scenario of the 2021 edition of the World Nuclear Association's Nuclear Fuel Report shows a 27% increase in uranium demand over 2021-30”. 

Intellectual property:


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
John Minnick
Business Development Officer
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
David Hatchett
Kenneth Czerwinski
Katherine Luebke (formerly Thornock)
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