4.4 Recovery of raw materials from End-of-life products
The general goal of the project is to assist the contribution to the strategic implementation plan of the European innovation partnership on raw materials and the ERA-MIN Agenda, through the adoption of sustainable waste management approaches. Particularly, the project goal is the recovering of more high-value materials as rare earth elements (REEs) from permanent magnets and reuse them in production of new magnets.
The project will develop a management tool that provides information concerning European directives, legislation and technologies for REEs recycling and reusing to the electronic waste assemblers and recyclers. The tool would be helpful to both WEEE recyclers and EEE manufacturing companies in any country, in order to implement the best practices in REEs waste management and in the reuse of these materials.
INCDIE ICPE – CA Bucharest have a large experience concerning the fabrication and characterization of the hard magnetic materials, beginning from the classical Alnico alloys and further with the sintered and bonded permanent magnets based on rare earths. During the years, the research results were concretized on many new products in the domain of the permanent magnets and also in technologic transfers to the specialized units from Romania. INCDIE ICPE-CA is the owner of many patents concerning the fabrication, characterization and applications of the magnetic materials (some of these being awarded at different exhibitions), being now the only producer for the high performance NdFeB sintered permanent magnets.
The Magnetic Materials Group within ICPE-CA was and is the only group in Romania interested in the research and development of permanent magnets (PM) based on rare earths. Thus, at present, the Magnetic Materials group is strongly interested in the development of sustainable methods of PM recycling, through the so-called “magnet-to-magnet recycling” process. Most of the research carried out by the Magnetic Materials Group had as main theme the elaboration / manufacture of Nd-Fe-B magnets. By carrying out these research projects and following micro-production activities (activities that address and meet the needs of industry for this type of REEs-based PM), to reduce the amount of waste and for a recovery of the resulting Nd-Fe-B alloys, the group of Magnetic Materials has developed a recycling process for these alloys. This process involves the use of hydrogen to decrepitate Nd-Fe-B waste and to obtain powders that are subsequently processed and sintered, and will eventually take the form of recycled magnets. This research resulted in the patent B.I. RO 115996 B1, 2000 'NdFeB magnetic alloy waste recovery process'.