Recycling rare earth magnets

Rare earth magnets are a critical component of modern energy technologies. We are developing the science that will allow us to recycle scrap magnetic material into brand new magnets.

Rare earth magnets find many applications in modern energy technologies. They are at the heart of many offshore wind turbine generator designs and are key to some types of electric vehicle motor and other high efficiency motors, such as in pumps and drives. A clean economy will be dependent on the availability of rare earths.

Selection of neodymium magnets

Rare earth magnets pose a significant challenge for UK industry. As with other strategic elements and critical materials, our economy is reliant on rare earth magnetic materials yet we do not have an indigenous supply of these materials. Furthermore, there is a significant environmental impact associated with the extraction of rare earth magnetic materials.

Globally, the biggest producer of rare earth elements (REEs) is China. In recent years, China has increasingly used its position as the dominant supplier to advance its industrial interests. This poses a threat to British and western businesses that are reliant on rare earth magnets.

Developing our capacity to recover and repurpose rare earth magnets will help reduce the UK's reliance on unpredictable global supplies whilst reducing our environmental impacts. We believe that the reuse and recycling of rare earth magnetic material will become increasingly important as our economy moves to use ever increasing quantities of strong magnetic material in renewable energy devices and ultra-low emission motors.