Design and construction of a recycling line for neodymium-iron-boron (NIB) magnets from electronic wastes (MAGNETRONIC-REC).

Electric and electronic wastes represented more than the 4% of the total rubbish collected in Europe, percentage that grows exponentially every year. In addition more than 90% of those electronic wastes are directly landfilled, burnt or deserted and may release hazardous substances contained in such devices, being harmful for human health if, once classified as wastes they are not correctly managed and treated.

In order to solve those problems, the European Union established Directive 2012/19/UE whose main aims are the recollection of electronic and electric wastes indicator below 2.5 kg/citizen/year and the reuse and/or recycling of about 70-90% in weight of the electronic wastes generated, excluding incineration with energetic recuperation as recycling action.

In this sense, it has been detected the necessity to develop a plant using technologies which could provide the required solution by recycling that kind of materials and leading Europe to a more self-supporting position, no so dependent on Chinese exportation of RE materials. In order to give a solution to the problem, the present project provides a process, with a capacity up to 80 tonnes of powder/year to recycle NIB magnets from some of those kinds of wastes, which are one of their most valuable components and are not currently being recovered or recycled.

This process starts with the separation of the NIB magnet from other materials such as plastics and other materials not susceptible to magnetic fields. Next, a purification process will be developed where the NIB material will be separated from other metals by demagnetisation, size reduction and suction of the NIB powder. Finally, the applicability of the NIB powder obtained will be confirmed by reusing it for magnets production at a demonstrative scale, since its final characteristics will satisfy the commercial ones.

MAGNETRONIC-REC project, with agreement number ECO/13/630354/MAGNETRONIC-REC, has a budget of 1.197.713 € and the European Commission's contribution amount adds up to 598.855 €. The project will last three years (July 2014 - June 2017).


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