innovative RE-use and reCycling VALue Chain for High-Power Magnets – RECVAL-HPM
The project aims at developing new technologies for the re-use and recycling of high-performance permanent neodymium-based magnets. It will address the development of re-use concepts and technical processes for various industrial and consumer products. On the other hand the project will establish a broad basis of knowledge how to recover magnet material and the rare earths contained by a variety of processes. This will enable industry but also other stakeholders to better understand the technical possibilities of recycling and the organisational and economic implications of actually taking back products and using the valuable resources contained.
The research partners will use their wealth of knowledge and process equipment to test and further develop techniques like metal vapour extraction, electro-deposition, wet-chemical extraction or bio leaching. To compare the capabilities of the different techniques in terms of product type, product quality, resource use and environmental impact a life cycle analysis will be performed.
The technical developments will be complemented by elaborating a well-structured, comprehensive methodology to analyse the logistic, organisational and economic implications of the re-use or recycling of magnets from products. It will take into account the cost for take-back and transport of products and for the processing of the material. Thereby after the project it will be possible for enterprises to analyse the potential of re-use or recovery for their products and to find the best strategies taking also into account the prices for diverse rare earths.
As the re-use of a magnet is the recirculation of its material to the industrial system on the highest level this route is particularly important and will be analysed in-depth. The dismantling of products which are coming back today as well as the different options of direct use of their magnets for other products will be explored.
If a magnet cannot be directly re-used, the next best level is the disintegration of the material by a the hydrogen-based decrepitation process which will produce powders that can be used to make new magnets. However, the details of this process are not yet fully understood, therefore we will work on them to improve the industrial usability of the material.
All other processes will be developed with the aim to establish at least a small scale pilot at the end of the project aiming at the collection of data needed for the economic and resource efficiency analysis. The special feature of this project is the parallel work on almost all known techniques capable of processing rare earths and the opportunity to compare them on different levels important for industrial use.
The research activities will be coordinated by CEA on the French and Fraunhofer on the German side focussing on applied industrial research. At the same time, major French and German industrial partners are involved to evaluate the results from their perspective. These industrial key players cover the entire magnets lifecycle, from its production (Arelec) to its use and discard (Bosch, Voith) to the potential re-use and recovery (Adamec, Triade, BASF).
The work plan is structured into six major tasks. Besides of the coordination of the whole project the tasks will address the collection and extraction of magnets from waste streams, the re-use of extracted magnets, the recycling of magnets with the aim of producing either magnet powders or rare earth elements and the economic modelling and environmental impact studies. In all work packages we will use material from industry for tests which will come either from the consortium or from interested enterprises outside the project. We will therefore establish an industrial interest group that can provide the consortium with data and material from diverse sources. In exchange the companies will receive certain project results. This will be a powerful way for results dissemination and speeding up their industrial up-take.
Monsieur Richard Laucournet (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
CEA LITEN Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
TRIADE Triade électronique Véolia Propreté
ARELEC ARELEC S.A.S.
Help of the ANR 887,936 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2014 - 36 Months