Catalysts are used extensively in industry to purify and upgrade various feeds and to improve process efficiency. These catalysts lose their activity with time. Spent catalysts from a sulfuric acid plant (main elemental composition: 5.71% V2O5, 1.89% Al2O3, 1.17% Fe2O3 and 61.04% SiO2; and the rest constituting several other oxides in traces/minute quantities) were used as a secondary source for vanadium recovery. Experimental studies were conducted by using three different leaching systems (citric acid with hydrogen peroxide, oxalic acid with hydrogen peroxide and sulfuric acid with hydrogen peroxide). The effects of leaching time, temperature, concentration of reagents and solid/liquid (S/L) ratio were investigated. Under optimum conditions (1:25 S/L. ratio, 0.1 M citric acid, 0.1 M hydrogen peroxide, 50 degrees C and 120 min), 95% V was recovered in the presence of hydrogen peroxide in citric acid leaching. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.