Current Research - Magnetic Materials Group

The MMGs current and recent research projects are focussed on several areas including;

1)      The circular economy of magnets and electric drives

2)      Casting of rare earth alloys

3)      Efficient processing techniques for rare earth magnets

4)      Substitution of rare earth elements in magnets.

5)      Degradation and corrosion of magnetic materials

6)      Coating technologies for rare earth magnets

Current research projects include:


This project explores the sustainable recovery, reprocessing and reuse of rare-earth magnets in a circular economy.  


This EU Horizon 2020 project is identifying ways NEOdymium-Iron-Boron based materials, fabrication techniques and recycling solutions could highly reduce he consumption of rare-earths in permanent magnets for wind energy. 

  • Duration: 01/02/2017 – 31/01/2020

Neohire factsheet

Consortium Members:

  • Asociacion Centro Tecnologico (CEIT)
  • Universidad Del Pais Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertaitatea
  • The University of Birmingham
  • Fraunhofer
  • Fundacion Cidaut
  • KU Leuven
  • Aichi Seiko Kabushiki
  • KolektorMagnet Technology GmbH
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze
  • Indar Electric SL


Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles ((H)EVs) are essential for the transition towards sustainable e-mobility. The permanent magnets in motors/generators of (H)EVs are either NdFeB or SmCo magnets, which contain large quantities of rare earths, which are critical metals with the highest supply risk for Europe.

As highlighted by the European Rare Earths Competency Network, recycling of rare-earth magnets from (H)EVs should receive top priority. Reclaiming of rare-earth magnet motors/generators used in (H)EVs is a major challenge because the magnets are difficult to remove from the assemblies.

DEMETER, the European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles, concurrently develops (1) innovative, environmentally-friendly direct and indirect recycling strategies for the permanent magnets in the motors and generators of (H)EVs that are currently already on the market and (2) design-for-reuse solutions for motors and generators in the (H)EVs of the future.

  • EU Horizon 2020 project. 
  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN-ETN)
  • Duration: 01/09/2015 – 31/08/2019

Horizon 2020 summary for European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles

Consortium Members:

  • KU Leuven
  •  Jožef Stefan Institute
  • Magneti Ljubljana d.d.
  •   The University of Birmingham
  •  Valeo
  •  Grenoble INP
  •  Aalborg University
  •  Less Common Metals
  •  Granta Design
  •  Ensicaen
  •  Universitatea Babes-Bolyai

Completed research projects:  

These research activities were predominantly directed towards the development of improved magnetic materials leading to more efficient, compact and lightweight machines. More directly we are looking at more energy efficient manufacturing routes and processes for recycling scrap magnets.

Resource Efficient Production Route for Rare Earth Magnets

REProMagThe objective of the REProMag project was to develop and validate an innovative resource efficient manufacturing route for Rare-Earth magnets that allows for the economically efficient production of net-shape magnetic parts with complex structures and geometrics while being 100% waste-free along the whole manufacturing chain.

RE-magnets produced in this way can be applied in a wide range of applications such as for electrical motors, sensors, actuators, grippers and fixations in the fields of (electro-) mobility, energy, aerospace, industrial, mechanical engineering and medical technologies. This new manufacturing route is called SDS process (Shaping, Debinding and Sintering).

  • Horizon 2020
  • Duration 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2017

For more information, please visit:

Consortium Members:

  • Ohnmacht & Baumgärtner GmbH & Co (OBE)
  • Forschungs- und Technologietransfer GmbH (FOTEC)
  • PT+A GmbH
  • Hage Sondermashinenbau GmbH & Co
  • Lithoz GmbH
  • TEKS
  • Siemens
  • Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co
  • Technische Universität Wien (Vienna Technical University)
  • The University of Birmingham
  • Montanuniveritaet Leoben (MUL)
  • Jožef Stefan Institute
  • National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
  • Steinbeis 2i GmbH (S2i)

European Rare Earth (Magnet) Recycling Network

EREANTo date, less than 1% of the rare earths are being recycled, due to, amongst others, a lack of efficient recycling technologies. The creation of a rare-earth recycling industry in Europe urgently requires an “army” of skilled chemists and engineers, who can tackle the barriers to develop fully closed-loop environmentally-friendly recycling flow sheets. EREAN will train 15 young researchers (12 ESR + 3 ER) in the S/T of rare earths, with emphasis on the recycling of these elements from permanent magnets. An intensive intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration has been established in the EREAN consortium, which covers the full materials loop, from urban mine to magnet.

  • EU FP7 Marie-Curie Training Network
  • Duration: 01/09/2013 - 31/12/2017 

For more information, please visit:

Consortium Members:

  • KU Leuven
  • Chalmers Industriteknik
  • Fraunhofer IWKS
  • Solvay
  • TU Delft
  • The University of Birmingham
  • Umicore
  • University of Helsinki
  • Öko-Institut EV

Associated Members:

  • InsPyro
  • Less Common Metals
  • Magneti Ljubljana d.d.
  • MEAB Mearllextraktion
  • Stena Metall
  • Treibacher Industrie

Rare Earth Magnet Recovery for Environmental and Resource Protection

Remanence_LogoThe REMANENCE concept is to develop new and innovative processes for the recovery and recycling of rare earth (RE) containing neodymium iron boron magnets (NdFeB) from a range of waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE).

Advanced sensing and mechanical separation techniques combined with innovative processes based on hydrogen decrepitation will recover the rare earth magnets in the WEEE. Significantly with the REMANENCE concept, the aim will be to recover material in a form that can easily re-enter the primary magnet manufacturing production route, so providing large energy savings and production costs.

  • EU FP7
  • Duration 01/01/2013 - 30/06/2016

For more information, please visit:

Consortium Members:

  • C-Tech Innovation
  • Chalmers Industriteknik
  • The University of Birmingham
  • LEITAT Technological Center
  • Stena Technoworld AB
  • Kolektor Magnet Technology GmbH
  • Acreo Swedish ICT AB
  • Magneti Ljubljana d.d.

New Permanent Magnets for Electric-Vehicle Drive Applications

MagDrive LogoThe purpose of this project is to significantly impact the European Community by increasing energy efficiency over a wide range of EV operating conditions, and by reducing the cost of materials used in next generation electric vehicles.

MAG-DRIVE contributes directly to The European Green Cars Initiative and the call GC.SST.2013-2 “Next Generation Electric Motors“,

  • EU FP7
  • Duration: 01/10/2013 - 30/09/2016

Consortium Members:

  • Jožef Stefan Institute
  • Valeo
  • Kochanek Entwicklungsgeselschaft
  • The University of Birmingham
  • Magneti Ljubljana d.d.
  • Institute for Chemistry, Technology and Metallurgy, The University of Begrade
  • Queen Mary, University of London

European Rare Earths Competency Network

The European Commission is bringing together experts to form a European Rare Earths Competency Network (ERECON) that will look at ways of addressing the issue of supply security.

ERECON is guided by a Steering Committee that sets the agenda of the Working Group meetings of rare earth experts. 

  • European Commission
  • Duration: 10/2013 - 10/2014

For more information, please visit:

WRAP Project 

WRAP-LogoThe magnetic materials group have completed a project funded by the Waste and Resources Action Programme entitled - Large scale trials on the use of hydrogen to extract NdFeB magnets from computer hard drive disks.

The aim of this project was to scale up existing technology developed to extract NdFeB magnets from electronic waste

  • Duration: 2012 - 2013

For more information, please visit:

Hydrogen Processed Magnet Scrap (HyProMS)

  • TSB
  • Duration: 2008 – 2010

For more information, please visit:

Consortium Members:

  • PowdermatriX
  • Secure IT Recycling Ltd
  • Less Common Metals
  • Amgnet Applications Ltd
  • Precision Magnetics Ltd
  • Birmag Ltd
  • Arnold Magnetics