Emmert and Bandara Develop a Novel Method to Separate REEs from Magnets

Emmert and Bandara Develop a Novel Method to Separate REEs from Magnets

Marion H. Emmert and H. M. Dhammika Bandara, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with support from the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3), have developed a novel method to separate rare earth elements, specifically Neodymium and Dysprosium, from the magnets they are used in to enable straightforward and efficient recycling. The technology has the potential to prevent the need to import all rare earth elements from China, which would provide an alternative source of these critical materials. Furthermore, companies that utilize magnets containing these metals in electric motors, wind turbines, and other devices would be able to improve the sustainability of the life cycles of their products by reusing the recycled materials.

Features include:

  • Closed-loop recycling process executed at room temperature
  • Requires only two inputs – a solid acid powder and the motors to be recycled
  • Inexpensive design

Benefits include:

  • Alternative, US-based supply of rare earth elements
  • Improved sustainability of rare earth motors
  • Recycling process can be used to separate other components of motors (i.e., copper, steel, iron salts) in addition to rare earth elements
  • Sustainable and safe process employing hydrometallurgical steps at room temperature

To learn more, contact Todd Keiller (tkeiller@wpi.edu), Director of Intellectual Property & Innovation at WPI.

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