REE4EU research published on Open Research Europe

A new paper based on the research carried out by Tecnalia and Idener in the project REE4EU has been published in the brand new open access journal powered by the European Commission, Open Research Europe: “Development of an innovative process involving the use of ionic liquids for the recovery and purification of rare earths from permanent magnets and NIMH batteries“. This is a scientific journal for research stemming from Horizon 2020 funding across all subject areas. The platform also enables the direct link of data from external repositories, removing obstacles to collaborative research through data sharing, transparency and attribution.

The paper addresses the development of a more environmentally friendly industry of Rare Earth Elements, and also the production of renowable technology. Due to the unavaibility of REE mines in Europe, this region is highly dependent on external providers, thus increasing the risk of supply. The research article presents a sustainable and green way of recycling the residues generated in the REE-intensive industries, easing the risk of supply and decreasing the pollution associated with those residues, such as spent permanent magnets (SPM), permanent magnet swarf (PMS), and NiMH batteries. The proposed recycling route uses different solvents such as innovative ionic liquids and/or mineral acids, followed by the precipitation of the targeted rare earths in oxalate form and their subsequent calcination to obtain the final rare earth oxides. The process has proven to obtain purities higher than 95% and a recovery of >99%, showing considerable potential for REE production.