Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

+39 011 090 6100 info@tech-share.it

PROCESS FOR RECOVERING RARE EARTHS AND METALS

Exhausted magnets recoveryHydrometallurgical processLiquid-solid dischargeNeodymiumZero Waste

Introduction

The present invention concerns a hydrometallurgical process whose main purpose is the recovery of the materials that make up the exhausted permanent magnets; in particular the elements belonging to the group of rare earths such as Neodymium and Praseodymium and metals such as, among others, Iron and Nickel from Neodymium magnets.

Technical features

As the technique progresses, many commercial products, such as Hard Disk drives and audio products (microphones, loudspeakers, etc.), which contain magnets are replaced by new generations of products, posing a problem of disposing of Magnetic components. To date, the exhausted permanent magnets are mostly destined for landfill disposal. However, the need to reduce environmental contamination and conserve primary resources, has given rise to various mechanical, pyro and hydrometallurgical recovery technologies. As demonstrated by scientific literature, hydrometallurgical procedures are preferable to pyrometallurgical ones. The main disadvantage of hydrometallurgical processes, however, is the production of large quantities of solid and liquid waste that have a negative impact on the environment and human health if not properly disposed of. In this context, a team of researchers from the University of L’Aquila has developed an innovative process that allows the recovery of the above mentioned elements, not requiring significant quantities of costly chemical agents, nor hazardous wastes, in solid form and/or liquid, thus giving rise to an ecological and economic process.

Possible Applications

Recovery and recycling of industrial waste from:

  • Electrical and electronic industry;
  • Chemical and ceramic industry (Nd based catalysts);
  • Automotive industry (permanent magnets and nickel metal hydride batteries).

Advantages

  • Process more economical and environmentally sustainable than the ones currently in use;
  • High recovery rate (over 95%) of Neodymium, Praseodymium, Nickel and Iron compared to the quantities present in the source material;
  • Easy industrialisation.