Holistic Approach to enhance the Recyclability of rare-earth permanent Magnets Obtained from any waste stream (HARMONY)
Permanent magnets based on Rare Earths (RE) such as neodymium or dysprosium are used in a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, sensor technology, robotics, renewable energies and consumer goods. In recent years, however, the supply of these materials has come under pressure and neodymium and dysprosium are now considered critical materials with a high supply risk. Europe imports far more NdFeB magnets than it produces, putting its industry in a weak position.
HARMONY's goal is to establish a pilot-scale recycling loop for permanent magnets in Europe. This cycle includes the collection and dismantling of magnet-containing waste, the recovery and production of recycled SE materials through 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 wind turbines, electric motors and other waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
The various steps will be carried out in eight pilots, which are expected to reach a final Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6-7. HARMONY will base the development of the new products on existing standards to ensure compatibility with market conditions and increase transparency for potential customers. The economic, environmental and social sustainability of the processes will be demonstrated by means of life cycle analyses (LCA), social life cycle analyses (S-LCA) and life cycle cost analyses (LCCA). In addition, social innovation, including citizen dialogue, policy issues, standardisation and ethics, will be considered to overcome the non-technological barriers that make it difficult to bring these new technologies to market in the short term.
The project is being coordinated by the Spanish institute CEIT. The consortium consists of 21 project partners from six European countries. As a project partner, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is responsible for connecting the research and innovation players at European level. It also develops the strategies for use and protection of project results with the partners and makes the results available to a broad public.
- Funding: European Commission, Programme Horizon Europe
- Funding budget for all partners: 13 million EUR
- Participating countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom
- Project duration: 01/2024 - 12/2026
Keywords: Recovery, Recycling, Reuse, rare earths, neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB), rare earth magnets, permanent magnets, efficient extraction, critical raw materials, pilot scale, circular economy, Renewable Energy, E-Mobility, Green Energy, sustainable industry, motors, generators, wind turbines, sustainability