An acid-free dissolution rare-earth magnet recycling process has earned a 2018 Notable Technology Development Award from the Federal Laboratories Consortium (FLC).
Researchers at the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) and Ames Laboratory invented a magnet recycling process in which magnets are dissolved in water-based solutions, recovering more than 99 percent purity rare earth elements. Cobalt is also recovered from cobalt-containing magnet wastes. The rare earth materials recovered have been reused in making new magnets, and the recovered cobalt shows promise for use in making battery cathodes.
One of the panel judges commented, “Rare earths are used in industry, defense, and electronics. If they can be obtained through recycling rather than imported from a foreign country, this innovation is worthy of recognition.”