New demonstrative pilot plant for the recycling of NdFeB

magnets from discarded HDDs (LIFE RECYMAGNET)

Currently, more than 90% of electronic wastes are directly landfilled, burnt or deserted. A derived risk of deserting electronic wastes is hazardous substances contained in them because, although these substances are necessary to ensure the functionality of electronic devices, they may be released to the environment or can be harmful for human health if, once classified as wastes, they are not correctly managed and treated.

In this sense, the main aim of the project LIFE RECYMAGNET is to find a solution for the environmental problems caused by RE metals scarcity and emissions derived from their extraction and processing, as well as for the treatment of electronic wastes generated in Spain, and by extension in Europe, by developing a recycling line for NIB magnets from different electronic wastes, giving special attention to the case of HDD, with a treatment capacity of 75 HDD/h which will be capable to recover up to 80% of their active magnetic materials to produce recycled NdFeB magnets which are currently required in large quantities..

In this way, RE metals reusing, will allow reductions in their extraction and separation process, one of the most aggressive steps for the environment during NIB magnets production. Furthermore, energy requirements to recycle NIB magnets are much lower than for the original production and recycling process generates 98% less wastes. Thus, recycling plays an essential role in sustainable development, not only for its significant monetary value, but recycled metals has a unique environmental value: they can last forever, making them a vital resource.

lifeLIFE RECYMAGNET project, with agreement number LIFE13 ENV/ES/000703, has a budget of 1.426.007 € and the European Commission's contribution amount adds up to 688.753 €. The project will last forty-two months (September 2014 - May 2016).