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An Ex-ante LCA Study of Rare Earth Extraction from NdFeB Magnet Scrap Using Molten Salt Electrolysis

Schulze, R. and Abbasalizadeh, Aida and Bulach, Winfried and Schebek, Liselotte and Buchert, M. (2018):
An Ex-ante LCA Study of Rare Earth Extraction from NdFeB Magnet Scrap Using Molten Salt Electrolysis.
In: Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, Springer, pp. 493-505, 4, ISSN 2199-3823,
[Online-Edition: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40831-018-0198-...],
[Article]

Abstract

A new recycling process for the extraction of rare earths from neodymium–iron–boron (NdFeB) magnet scrap is being developed, based on the direct extraction of rare earths from end-of-life magnet material in a molten fluoride electrolysis bath. Rare earths are required in their metallic form for the production of new NdFeB magnets, and the suggested process achieves this through a single step. The process is being developed on a laboratory scale and has been proven to work in principle. It is expected to be environmentally beneficial when compared to longer processing routes. Conducting life cycle assessment at R&D stage can provide valuable information to help steer process development into an environmentally favorable direction. We conducted a life cycle assessment study to provide a quantitative estimate of the impacts associated with the process being developed and to compare the prospective impacts against those of the current state-of-the-art technology. The comparison of this recycling route with primary production shows that the recycling process has the potential for much lower process-specific impacts when compared against the current rare earth primary production route. The study also highlights that perfluorocarbon emissions, which occur during primary rare earth production, warrant further investigation.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2018
Creators: Schulze, R. and Abbasalizadeh, Aida and Bulach, Winfried and Schebek, Liselotte and Buchert, M.
Title: An Ex-ante LCA Study of Rare Earth Extraction from NdFeB Magnet Scrap Using Molten Salt Electrolysis
Language: English
Abstract:

A new recycling process for the extraction of rare earths from neodymium–iron–boron (NdFeB) magnet scrap is being developed, based on the direct extraction of rare earths from end-of-life magnet material in a molten fluoride electrolysis bath. Rare earths are required in their metallic form for the production of new NdFeB magnets, and the suggested process achieves this through a single step. The process is being developed on a laboratory scale and has been proven to work in principle. It is expected to be environmentally beneficial when compared to longer processing routes. Conducting life cycle assessment at R&D stage can provide valuable information to help steer process development into an environmentally favorable direction. We conducted a life cycle assessment study to provide a quantitative estimate of the impacts associated with the process being developed and to compare the prospective impacts against those of the current state-of-the-art technology. The comparison of this recycling route with primary production shows that the recycling process has the potential for much lower process-specific impacts when compared against the current rare earth primary production route. The study also highlights that perfluorocarbon emissions, which occur during primary rare earth production, warrant further investigation.

Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy
Volume: 4
Publisher: Springer
Divisions: 13 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences
13 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences > Institute IWAR
13 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Sciences > Institute IWAR > Material Flow Management and Resource Economy
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2019 09:39
Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40831-018-0198-...
Alternative keywords:
Alternative keywordsLanguage
Rare earths, Molten salt, electrolysis, Molten fluorides, Recycling, Ex-ante LCA, Perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissionsEnglish
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