The REE4EU project developed, validated and demonstrated in 2 industrially relevant Pilots an innovative Rare Earth Alloys (REA) production route from permanent magnets PM and Ni metal hydride (NiMH) Battery waste. The targeted integrated solution is based on recently developed lab-proven technologies for direct high temperature electrolysis of REA production. It was combined in the pilots with an innovative and proven Ionic Liquid Extraction or tailored hydrometallurgical pre-treatment to demonstrate dramatic improvements in cost and environmental performance compared to state of the art technologies.
The project involved in its consortium the full value chain including (SME and large) RE metal producers, PM manufacturer, SME process engineering companies and LCA experts, large electronics and battery recycling companies, SME technology transfer, innovation specialists as well as chemical and end-user associations. Together with 4 top research institutes on high temperature electrolysis, ionic liquids and RE recycling the REE4EU consortium proved technical and economic viability on in-process PM waste (swarf), as well as end-of-life (EoL) PM and NiMH battery waste, developed urgently required market data on EoL RE availability and a triple value-chain business case for a new European Rare Earth Alloys (REA) production sector from secondary raw material.