Breaking new ground in sustainable technology, Tyseley Energy Park in the UK has commenced commercial production of recycled rare earths, marking a pivotal moment in the industry. The park is leveraging a cutting-edge method known as Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap (HPMS) to produce recycled ‘sintered’ rare earth permanent magnets of recognized industrial grades.
HPMS is revolutionizing recycling by ensuring that the quality of the original magnets is preserved for reprocessing. This pioneering technology delivers remarkable energy savings of 88% and reduces human toxicity by an impressive 98% when compared to primary production methods. In contrast to traditional processes involving dismantling, thermal demagnetization, and cleaning, HPMS is hailed as a cleaner, more efficient, and automated method.
A History of Success
The scale-up at Tyseley Energy Park is built on the success of a pilot program at the University of Birmingham. Since its launch in 2022, the pilot has already yielded over 3,000 finished NdFeB magnets for project partners and potential customers. These magnets are currently undergoing rigorous testing across a diverse array of applications in the automotive, aerospace, and electronics sectors. Notably, magnets of different grades have been produced from various scrap sources, demonstrating the versatility and potential of this innovative approach.
First of Its Kind
Of great significance is the fact that Tyseley Energy Park stands as the sole local source of recycled rare earth permanent magnets in the UK. The initial production runs from this site will provide samples to further customers and project partners. With commercial production on the horizon in 2024, the facility aims to achieve initial throughput targets of 20 tonnes per year, gradually scaling up to a minimum of 100 tonnes per year in subsequent months.
Market Interest and Expansion
Notably, HyProMag, the company spearheading this pioneering venture, has already received significant interest in recycled magnets from potential customers. Original equipment manufacturers and automotive and recycling companies are actively exploring recycling solutions, with larger scale-up scenarios capable of producing up to 1,000 tonnes per year currently being evaluated.
Will Dawes, CEO of Mkango, expressed his enthusiasm for this milestone, emphasizing the competitive advantages of HyProMag’s recycling technology. He underlined its pivotal role in enabling cost-effective and energy-efficient separation and recycling of rare earth magnets, consequently reducing the carbon footprint significantly.