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Meet our CROCODILE colleague: Amal Siriwardana (TECNALIA)

Amal Siriwardana (the CROCODILE Project Coordinator) works as head of the waste valorization platform of area of material and processes department of TECNALIA. He is interested in raw materials, particularly critical metal recycling.

What are you working on?

I am the head of the waste valorization platform in TECNALIA, where I lead the group with several activities such as projects coordinating (Basque, national, H2020, KIC) and managing activities, supporting the group with technical advices, developing ideas for new startups, and networking activities

What attracts you in the research project you are working on?  

In any kind of research project, it is a good option to work as a team with expertise from universities, centres and industries. I am also interested in how we develop a process from lab to pilot, even at industrial scale. And also, how valuable those experiences and network are for TECNALIA.

Where do you work? What do you like about your organization or the city you live in?

I have been working in different countries with different cultures, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and USA. Currently, I work in TECNALIA, San Sebastian, Spain. I think San Sebastian is the right place for me to work until I get retired, I like the city, culture, location, food and social activities in San Sebastian.

I like my current job very much due to the reasons of the objectives of the company, team work among my group and different divisions in TECNALIA. I work hard with different responsibilities, but I never feel stressed because of the support which I receive from my group and boss. I think I work in a right place with right people where I can do more.

What characteristic do you most admire in others?

If someone listens carefully, proper responses from them, working as a team, follow the deadlines, and hardworking


Dr Amal Siriwardana was born in Sri Lanka. He obtained his MSc (2002) & PhD (2005) in Chemistry at the Tohoku University, Japan. From Apr 2005 until Sep 2006, he was working at the Kyoto Pharmaceutical University (Japan) in organic synthesis. In Oct, 2006 he moved to Monash University (Australia) to do research based on ionic liquids. Dr Siriwardana has experienced at Monash University, in selective & highly efficient metal extraction from aqueous media by using “Task Specific Ionic Liquids”. Moreover, he has expertise of synthesis, physico-chemical characterisation (e.g. TGA, NMR, IR, DSC, KF, pH, viscosity, empirical solvent parameters or prediction of properties, etc), and studies of properties of deep eutectic solvents & task specific ionic liquids. From 2011 to March 2012, he moved to Alabama University (USA) and further worked on designing and synthesizing of various ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents. He joined TECNALIA in Apr 2012 as a project manager of the ionic liquid group where he leads various national, European and private projects based on ionic liquids. For example, rare earth elements (REE) recovery from permanent magnets (H2020-SPIRE: REE4EU); REE, Ni, Co recovery from waste batteries (FP7, COLABATS); platinum group metals (PGM) recovery from autocatalysts, WEEE, tailings (H2020-SC5, PLATIRUS – Coordinator); Co recovery from Li-ion batteries (H2020-SC5-14c: CROCODILE – Coordinator); Ta, Nb, and W metal recovery from primary and secondary waste streams (H2020-SC5-6a: TARANTULA – Coordinator); Ga, In, REE recovery from primary ores (H2020-SC5-6a: ION4RAW); organic ionic plastic crystals for Li ion batteries (ELKARTEK, 2015); ionic liquids for Al electrodepostion and redox flow batteries (National project), Cu/PGM extraction, CO2 capture, water purification (ELKARTEK, 2016); recycling of critical metals (KIC-KAVA-network of Infrastructure: EXTREME – 2015 and KIC-RIS – 2018), desulfurization oil (private project – CEPSA) and ionic liquids as lubricants (private project – VERKOL). Working through various projects, he has a large ionic liquid network in Europe such as “IL-COST action (EU), REGALIS (Galicia). Through ionic liquid network, he participates and presents current research activities happening in TECNALIA. From 2018, he is the head of waste valorization group in TECNALIA where pyro-, hydro-, and ionometallurgies are main processes for waste recycling. Quite recently, he was invited to be a member of the scientific board and give an inaugural speech at “4th International Workshop on Ionic Liquids – Advanced Energy Applications (WILS2015) in Spain. Moreover, invited talks at EMRS Fall meeting (Symposium I – Solutions for critical raw materials under extreme conditions) in Warsaw, Poland and EIT KIC raw materials workshop and IdeaCamp in Aachen, Germany. Currently, he is a member of “Royal Society of Chemistry”. Dr. Siriwardana holds over 22 publications in high impact journals, 4 patents and 3 book chapters.