SIM² KU Leuven researchers have developed a novel approach to separate samarium from cobalt originating from SmCo magnets. Their newly published paper introduces very simple and cheap-to-maintain solvent extraction processes.Read More »
DEMETER – European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles
In 2010 the European Commission (EC) published a milestone report on Critical Raw Materials (CRM) for the EU, in response to the awareness of a supply risk for many raw materials. The rare-earth elements (REEs) were considered to be by far the most problematic. In 2011, the rare-earth crisis came to its peak with a more than tenfold increase in prices of light rare earths (LREEs) and heavy rare earths (HREEs). In 2014 the EC published an update of its CRM report, in which the concern about Europe being able to secure reliable, sustainable and undistorted access to raw materials was repeated. Of the 54 materials under investigation, the HREEs and LREEs were, once more, identified as having the greatest supply risk, with 99% of HREEs and 87% of LREEs being imported from China. The REE magnet industry consumes the major part of the LREEs neodymium (Nd) and praseodymium (Pr), while it consumes practically all of the produced HREE dysprosium (Dy). This makes the REE magnet industry and the various downstream sectors that utilise these magnets in their products and services extremely vulnerable to price fluctuations and shortages. The automotive sector is likely to become the main consumer of REE magnets in Europe, as it moves towards more Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) and Full Electric Vehicles (EVs). Furthermore, REE magnets are used in a diverse range of bulk applications incl. aerospace (wing flaps and generators), the medical sector (MRI scanners), metal processing (magnetic separators) and renewable energy technologies (wind turbines).
I have a background in LCA and knew that EVS were the future so I was excited to explore this domain. I had worked mostly in plastics previously so I was excited to work in metals.Read More »