Improving EU resilence with recyling magnets

Image credit: Brandon Style on Unsplash

Permanent magnets. Sustainable power.

Recycling is one often-overlooked facet of the opportunities to break China’s current overwhelming dominance of the market for rare earth elements (REEs) and their manufactured end products. With REEs having been incorporated into everything from industrial magnets to computer hard drives for decades now, there’s a huge supply of recyclable materials on offer. They could help put a serious dent in demand for newly extracted minerals, as well as the finished goods made from them, from China.

Scott Dunn, the company’s CEO: “UMC set out to figure out an alternative or substitute to change the dynamic of [REE] supply chain risk. That resulted in a process to use waste material as an abundant source for magnet raw materials.” The electronic waste UMC uses as its raw material is plentiful, and the supply will continue to grow as our countless e-toys age and are replaced. Recycling REEs helps build the circular economy while dealing with a waste stream that can otherwise be difficult to manage.

As demand for electricity sharply rises, so too does the demand for efficient motors and the powerful magnets needed to power them. With greater than half of the world’s energy consumed by electric motors, rare earth magnets hold the key to maximizing efficient electrical consumption and unlocking our high-tech, sustainable future.