A sample rare earth magnet from HyProMag.
A sample rare earth magnet from HyProMag.

The University of Birmingham and Bentley Motors have partnered to recycle rare earth metals for use in luxury electric vehicles (EVs).

The £2.6m RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines) project involves using hydrogen processing of magnet scrap (HPMS) technology to extract rare earth metals from waste electronics such as computer hard drives by breaking them into a powder that can be more easily separated from remaining components.

Rare earth magnets are found in almost every appliance that uses electricity to generate motion, but less than 1% of these magnets is recycled, the university said.

The technology was developed by Professor Allan Walton and Professor Emeritus Rex Harris of the University’s Magnetic Materials Group, and will be scaled up by HyProMag Ltd, a company set up by the Birmingham researchers.

The university will also provide cast alloys for HyProMag to blend with secondary materials in order to produce sintered magnets.

‘HyProMag’s recycling technologies allow us to produce NdFeB magnets with a much lower embedded carbon cost than using virgin supply and with independence from Chinese supply,’ said Nick Mann, operations general manager at HyProMag.

This story uses material from the University of Birmingham, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.