Hochschule PforzheimA Circular Economy for Rare Earth Permanent Magnets - Project partners of SUSMAGPRO present results

Permanent magnets based on rare earths (RE) are critical components in many technological products, such as electric vehicles and wind turbines. To date, only a fraction of EU demand is also covered by EU production and supply is at risk. Recycling can be part of the solution, as the recently completed EU project SUSMAGPRO shows.

Follow-up projects we are implementing together with Prof. Dr. Carlo Burkhardt of Pforzheim University and other European partners are pursuing complementary approaches to reduce dependence on imports and make the magnet value chain more sustainable and resilient.


In SUSMAGPRO, 18 European project partners along the entire value chain have developed solutions on a pilot scale to identify rare earth magnets more easily, separate them from waste and recycle them in a short-loop process. New materials and magnets have been produced in sustainable processes, which were subsequently tested in two demonstrator applications with manufacturers in 2023: loudspeakers and electric motors.


Follow-up Project REEsilience Aims to Make the Supply Chain More Sustainable and Secure

The EU project REEsilience, which started in summer 2022 with a duration of four years, is dedicated to building a resilient supply chain for magnetic materials based on rare earths. 18 European partners share a grant of 12 million EUR. The lion’s share of just under 2.5 million EUR is going to Pforzheim University, with a further 550.000 EUR going to the newly founded university spin-off HyProMag GmbH.

Successful EU Proposals in 2023

In 2023, two further proposals for research projects were submitted to the EU with the support of Steinbeis Europa Zentrum. Good news arrived in January 2024: both proposals were approved. Coordinated by the Slovenian Jožef Stefan Institute, partners in GREENE will be conducting pioneering magnet research using innovative methods to re-design the magnet microstructure in such a way that rare earth content can be reduced.

The HARMONY project aims to establish a recycling loop for permanent magnets on a pilot scale in Europe. This loop includes the collection and dismantling of magnet-containing waste, the recovery and production of recycled rare earth materials using direct and indirect recycling technologies, the production of sintered or bonded magnets from the recycled materials and their validation in end-user applications. The focus is on applications in wind turbines, electric motors and other waste electrical and electronic equipment.

Enabling Innovators to Grow

As a project partner in SUSMAGPRO, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum was responsible for communication and networking activities, the dissemination of project results and the development and analysis of exploitation models, as well as supporting coordination and administrative project management. In REEsilience and GREENE, it performs the same tasks as a project partner. In HARMONY, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum's focus is on the development of exploitation strategies and business models for project results as well as on the exploration of synergies and implementation of joint activities with relevant initiatives and projects in the field.

Further information on SUSMAGPRO: https://www.susmagpro.eu/

Further information on REEsilience: https://reesilience.eu/

Find out more about Prof. Dr. Carlo Burkhardt’s journey: Making rare earth magnet supply chains more sustainable and secure - Steinbeis EN (steinbeis-europa.de)

SUSMAGPRO video: SUSMAGPRO EU-H2020 Project: Achievements for a Circular Economy of Rare Earth Magnets (youtube.com)

„Our colleagues at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum are strong partners for us in terms of communication, exploitation and project management. They enable us to focus on research and development work and also make an excellent contribution to the development of commercialisation strategies for the new technologies and pilot plants.“

Professor Dr. Carlo Burkhardt, Institute for Precious and Technology Metals, Pforzheim University

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Maëva Pratlong
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Contact us!

Maëva Pratlong

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