Innovative Permanent Magnet Production, Recovery and Reuse

  • Jensen, Bogi Bech (Project Manager)
  • Høgberg, Stig (PhD Student)

    Project Details


    Strong permanent magnets are essential, e.g. in future transport, wind energy and water managementapplications. High performance magnets require the use of rare earth elements (REE),which have increased in price by a factor of ten over the last 18 months - partly due to the factthat China controls 97 % of the global production of REE. In the light of possibly reduced levels ofexports due to Chinese trade restrictions resulting in the uncertain long-term availability of theseelements, there is a need to focus research on improving the magnet production and recyclingtechnologies with reduced dependency of scarce elements from a single source, without compromisingtheir functional performance. Magnets with better temperature characteristics, hard permanentmagnets with a high magnetisation and high coercivity must be investigated. Also issuessuch as lifetime assessment and new coating strategies must be considered.
    Additionally, substantial mining activity is restarting outside China, and the production capacity in 2015 is expected to be of the same order of magnitude as the current Chinese production volume.1 Thus, it is relevant to review the entire supply chain of (Nd, Dy, Pr)FeB permanent magnetsin a European context and to examine whether the magnets can be improved by innovativenew production methods. Here large deposits of rare earth elements found in Greenland willserve as a base for an investigation of precursors, processing of alloys, production of the magnets,applications and finally the reuse and recycling of magnet materials. The impact will be amarket leading industry for the next generation of permanent magnet solutions.
    In REEgain we will focus on recycling REE-based magnets and we seek to re-establish an REEindustry outside China. Thus, the aim of the innovation consortium is to establish a group of privatecompanies, knowledge institutions and universities for the development of high performancepermanent magnets with a reduced dependency on critical materials. The project goals include:
    - Establish a secure supply chain of rare earth elements for permanent magnets from depositsin Greenland
    – and from reuse and recycling.
    - Improve magnet performance and reduce the usage of critical raw materials by optimisationof microstructure and introduction of nano-domains
    - Introduce advanced process technologies, enabling complex geometries and large magnetsbeyond state-of-the-art
    - Improve reliability and lifetime of magnets by adopting new corrosion protection strategiesbased on coupled analysis of environment and functionality
    As a part of the consortium, a researchand knowledge-based environmentwill be established at aninternational level in the area ofpermanent magnet properties, usageand production. The activitieswill support new production andcommercialisation activities in the field.
    The project idea was initiated by R&D manager Peter Kjeldsteen, SintexA/S, as the company meets new challenges on
    1. Increased costs onraw materials,
    2. Demand for cradle-to-cradle solutions by the costumers and
    3. Demand for new high performance magnets.
    Peter was also helpful by suggestingrelevant industrial partners. The project concept was validated at a TI-workshop in September 2011.
    Effective start/end date01/03/201201/03/2016

    Collaborative partners

    • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
    • TechnoFlex A/S (Project partner)
    • HJ Hansen A/S (Project partner)
    • University of Southern Denmark (Project partner)
    • Envision Energy ApS (Project partner)
    • FJ Industries (Project partner)
    • Sintex A/S (Project partner)
    • Holm Magnetics ApS (Project partner)
    • Tanbreez Mining Greenland A/S (Project partner)
    • Danish Technological Institute (Project partner)


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