Admicellar chromatography is a new surfactant-based separation process recently invented at the University of Oklahoma. It uses the bilayers of ionic surfactants reversibly adsorbed on an inert metal oxide surface as a mass separating agent. After the surfactant layer has become saturated with the compound to be recovered from a waste stream, the bilayer is stripped, along with the adsorbed compound, into a recovery stream. In this project we examined the use of a common, edible, biodegradable surfactant, sodium dodecylsulfate (sds), adsorbed on the surface of alumina, to recover copper from dilute aqueous solution. In the first part of the project we were able to verify that the process, as envisioned, could be used to concentrate the copper from solution as long as the concentration of competing ion was not high. We then developed a model to allow the scale-up of the laboratory data to an industrial scale and compared the operating costs of a recovery unit based on admicellar chromatography to the cost of a unit based on conventional ion-exchange resins. We found that with sds as the ionic surfactant, the admicellar chromatography-based process would be an order of magnitude more expensive to operate than the conventional process. This was primarily due to the necessity to either make up or recover the sds leached from the bed while it was operating. By switching to sodium tetradecylsulfate, this cost was essentially eliminated, and the process became competitive with the conventional process.