New video released on first recyclable e-motor (EU DEMETER)

Three years after launching its widely praised and award-winning first video, the ETN DEMETER team now proudly presents a follow-up animated video in which the flagship product of this 4 year-project is revealed. Meet the DEMETER e-motor, the first recyclable e-motor (for a hybrid electric vehicle) based on recycled NdFeB magnets. Featuring two of the DEMETER Researchers, Pranshu Upadhayay (Valeo) and Gwendolyn Bailey (KU Leuven), the video highlights the e-motor’s ecobenefits with respect to traditional, fossil fuel-driven ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles). The video sets the scene perfectly for the DEMETER Concluding Symposium (Leuven/Belgium, February 5-7, 2019) on rare-earth permanent-magnet motors and the e-mobility revolution. (Leuven, 22/1/2019)

DEMETER project

DEMETER is a EU Horizon 2020 European Training Network project that started in 2015 and which targeted the “Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles”. The 4-year project involves 15 young researchers, who collectively worked on developing a fully recyclable e-motor, which would also use recycled permanent magnets.

Award-winning video in 2016

Gwen Bailey winning the MSCA-ETN award for disseminationIn 2016 the DEMETER team launched a first animated video, in collaboration with the Belgian company Storyrunner. The video, featuring the DEMETER researcher Gwendolyn Bailey, explained the motivation behind the DEMETER project and the targeted goals.

The video was widely praised and won several prizes for excellent science dissemination. For instance, during the JRC EU4FACTS conference the ETN DEMETER video was awarded as an example on how science can contribute to evidence based policy making, sending out a clear example on what the project objectives are and how it relates to the broader international context.

New video on the DEMETER e-motor

Snapshot from the second ETN DEMETER videoAs the project is slowly reaching its final months, the ETN DEMETER team has produced a follow-up video, in which the flagship product of the project is revealed. The new video demonstrates the DEMETER e-motor, the first fully recyclable e-motor (for a hybrid electric vehicle) based on recycled NdFeB magnets.

Featuring two of the DEMETER Researchers, Pranshu Upadhayay (Valeo) and – once more -  Gwendolyn Bailey (KU Leuven), the video highlights the e-motor’s environmental benefits with respect to traditional, fossil fuel-driven ICEVs (Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles).

Concluding DEMETER Symposium

The video perfectly sets the scene for the DEMETER Concluding Symposium in Leuven (Belgium), on February 5-7, 2019. The DEMETER Symposium features a high-quality, “beyond-science-only” programme on rare-earth permanent-magnet motors and the e-mobility revolution. The 3-day Symposium provides the floor to invited international experts from industry, academia and the European Commission, as well as the early-stage researchers from the ETN DEMETER project who will present their final results. The Symposium includes two exciting panel discussions, which will stimulate a wider societal debate about the transition to a low-carbon mobility system, the requirement of critical metals (incl. rare earths), as well as the geopolitical aspects of rare earth sourcing. The Symposium is a co-organisation of DEMETER, SIM² KU Leuven and GloREIA. At this moment (22-1-2019) there are still 20 seats available. Registration for this Symposium can be done here.

Watch the new DEMETER video here

Key visual DEMETER Concluding SympĂ´sium

Reclaiming the treasure hidden in old CRT monitors and TVs

Within the EU H2020 REMAGHIC project, a process was developed by KU Leuven & TECNALIA to recover rare earths from CRT phosphor waste based on roasting and leaching with the green solvents acetic acid and methanesulphonic acid. The work is published in the Journal RSC Advances. (Leuven, 17/1/2019)

What are CRTs?

Cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) have widely been used in the past in television screens and computer monitors. Nowadays a large number of CRT devices is being discharged due to the fact that this technology is being replaced by LCDs, LCD/LEDs and plasma discharge displays. For this reason, it crucial to find proper treatment solutions for this type of e-waste.

One of the main components of a CRT is the panel glass, which is covered by a mixture of luminescent powders for producing images; in particular, the blue and green phosphors are based on zinc sulphide (ZnS:Ag for the blue phosphor and ZnS:Cu for the green phosphor), while the red phosphor is europium-doped yttrium oxysulfide (Y2O2S:Eu3+). This red phosphor is rich in the rare-earth elements (REEs) yttrium and europium and should be regarded as a potential secondary resource for these critical raw materials. The current treatment technologies for waste CRTs suffer from some disadvantages, such us the use of strong acids for the dissolution of the powder: due to the presence of sulfides, this leaching step cause the release of toxic H2S gas, unless an oxidizing agent is used.

New process to recover Y and Eu from waste CRT powder

In this paper, we propose an alternative approach for the recovery of yttrium and europium from waste CRT powder, which overcomes these issues by making use of an integrated process. The first step of the recovery process is a roasting step at relatively high temperature (850 ⁰C) to oxidise the zinc sulphide to zinc oxide. In the second step,  the green solvent acetic acid (CH3COOH, AcOH) is used to dissolve zinc oxide, giving access to the rare earth-rich fraction of the waste powder. Yttrium and europium are recovered from the leaching residue by a second leaching step with methanesulphonic acid (CH3SO3H, MSA), another green solvent known for its characteristics of biodegradability, thermal stability and low toxicity. Rare earths are finally precipitated with oxalic acid giving a mixed Y/Eu oxalate which is transformed, after calcination, in the corresponding mixed oxide.

 Graphical abstract paper RSC Advances

Graphical abstract: An integrated flow sheet based on roasting and leaching with organic acids is proposed for rare earths recovery from CRT phosphors.

Full reference of the paper

Federica Forte,  Lourdes Yurramendi,  JosÊ Luis Aldana, Bieke Onghena  and  Koen Binnemans, Integrated process for the recovery of yttrium and europium from CRT phosphor waste, RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 1378-1386. Download here: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2019/RA/C8RA08158A#!divAbstract

 Acknowledgements

This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 680629 (REMAGHIC: New Recovery Processes to produce Rare Earth-Magnesium Alloys of High Performance and Low Cost) (project website: http://www.remaghic-project.eu). The authors acknowledge Relight srl (Rho, Italy) for providing the CRT phosphor powder.

Bio Federica Forte

Photo Federica ForteFederica Forte is postdoctoral research associate at KU Leuven, Department of Chemistry (SOLVOMET Group). Her main interests are in the field of hydrometallurgy, ionometallurgy and solvometallurgy. In particular, she has been involved in the development and optimisation of critical raw material (CRM) recovery processes from several types of residues such as WEEE and metallurgical slags. Read an interview with Federica here.

Want to know more?

Come to the DEMETER Concluding Symposium in Leuven, Belgium, on 5-7 February 2019, which features a high-quality, “beyond-science-only” programme on rare-earth permanent-magnet motors and the e-mobility revolution. The three-day Symposium provides the floor to invited international experts from industry, academia and the European Commission, as well as the early-stage researchers from the ETN DEMETER project who will present their final results (watch the DEMETER video here). The Symposium includes two exciting panel discussions, which will stimulate a wider societal debate about the transition to a low-carbon mobility system, the requirement of critical metals (incl. rare earths), the Social License to Operate to mine and/or recycle critical metals, as well as the geopolitical aspects of rare earth sourcing. The Symposium is a co-organisation of DEMETER, SIM² KU Leuven and GloREIA.

The second panel discussion is entitled: “Are REEs still critical?”. Scope: Securing reliable and unhindered access to certain raw materials, such as REEs and cobalt, is a major concern for many countries. To address this challenge, the EC created a list of so-called Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) in 2011, with updates released in 2014 and 2017. In all three reports the REEs were ranked highest in terms of supply risk. The 2017 report labels the Light REEs as more critical than the Heavy REEs (in contrast to the 2014 report). This reflects key market trends such as the decline of fluorescent lamps (which consumed large volumes of the HREEs Eu, Tb and Y). As the demand for NdFeB magnets is expected to increase due to the use of these magnets in (H)EVs, e-bikes and wind turbines, some experts claim that Nd will be the only really critical REE in the future. In this panel discussion we want to look at this criticality question. Which REEs will be really critical in the future? How independent can the EU value chain become with respect to the Chinese REE value chain? Will there be new REE mines opened in the future and what will be the effect? How strongly can REE recycling contribute to the sourcing of REEs? What are the challenges for REE recycling?

New Mg–REEs alloys developed within the EU Remaghic project

The EU Horizon 2020 Remaghic project on “New Recovery Processes to produce Rare Earth -Magnesium Alloys of High Performance and Low Cost” has come to an end. The key results obtained in this Innovation Action project are summarised by Blanca Araujo Perez (CIDAUT, Spain) and Dr. Federica Forte (KU Leuven, Belgium) in a high-profile interview in the Journal Impact. Impact is a series of leading, high-quality science reports that  enables the communication of research impact in a format and language that diverse stakeholders will understand.  (PTJ, 24/10/2018)

Read the interview about Remaghic

Image Remaghic in Impact JournalThe Remaghic project, the work of a consortium of leading universities, research institutions and private companies, seeks to develop new recovery processes to produce high-performance, low-cost rare earth-magnesium alloys. In this interview you can read about the main results obtained in this 3-year project. You can download the interview here.

About Remaghic

Remaghic is a 3-year EU Horizon 2020 project focused on the development of new Mg-REEs alloys of improved mechanical properties and reduced price. In WP1, new techniques have been developed for the recovery of REEs (Y, La and Ce) from several waste streams (namely lamp phosphors, CRT phosphors and NiMH batteries).

These techniques are based on low-mid temperature processes (HydroWEEE process, iono- and solvometallurgical methods) and high-temperature processes (roasting and pyrometallurgical methods). New processes have been also developed for the recycling of magnesium from scrap and scum within WP2.

The achieved results fed WP3, focused on the alloying process between Mg and REEs, while WP4 targeted the industrial scaling to ensure that the methodologies developed in the previous WPs can be used to produce industrially viable quantities of materials.

Finally, a detailed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study was  performed in WP5 in order to determine the most cost-effective option for recovering and alloying magnesium and REEs and to quantify the economic and environmental benefits of the overall process. The project will contribute to reduce the dependency of the supply of critical elements (REEs and Mg) on sources exterior to the EU and to partially mitigate the Balance Problem, by offering new applications for those REEs which are usually stockpiled (such as La and Ce).

Biographies

Blanca Araujo is a senior industrial engineer and a Lean Project Manager. Blanca has more than 10 years of experience in material modelling and simulation. In the last eight years she has worked as project and innovation manager. She has worked in product design and component development for several OEMs and Tier1 within the transport industry. As Project Manager, she has managed research and development projects related to material development, manufacturing and product development projects. She is Remaghic project coordinator.

Photo Federica ForteFederica Forte is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry at KU Leuven, Belgium. Her main interests are in the field of hydrometallurgy, ionometallurgy and solvometallurgy. In particular, she has been involved in the development and optimisation of critical raw material (CRM) recovery processes from several types of residues such as fly ash, WEEE and metallurgical slags.

Acknowledgements
The Remaghic project has been supported by funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement number 689629.

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Register for the DEMETER Closing Symposium (5-7 Feb’ 2019)

In September 2015 the European Training Network for the Design and Recycling of Rare-Earth Permanent Magnet Motors and Generators in Hybrid and Full Electric Vehicles (in short: ETN DEMETER) was initiated. As the project is near completion, the DEMETER Closing Symposium is organised in Leuven (Belgium) on February 5-7, 2019. The programme features more than 10 keynote lectures by world-leading authorities in the field of rare earths, permanent magnets, electric motors and REE recycling technologies. Registration for this event, which is a co-organisation of DEMETER, SIM² KU Leuven and GloREIA, is now open. (PTJ, 17/10/2018)

Symposium scope

The DEMETER Symposium will deliver a high-quality, interesting and wide-ranging programme on rare-earth permanent-magnet motors and the e-mobility revolution. Over three days the Symposium will cover advances in materials, applications and emerging technologies in the field. The Symposium is based around keynote lectures by international experts from industry, academia and the European Commission, as well as oral presentations by the early-stage researchers from the DEMETER project. The keynote and ESR lectures are clustered in 5 Symposium Sessions:

  • The future of REE permanent magnets (I)
  • The future of REE permanent magnets (II)
  • REE permanent magnet motors and (H)EVs
  • Recycling of REE permanent magnets
  • Are REEs still critical?

Image of DEMETER Policy BriefMoreover, other participants will have the opportunity to present their own work during an Intensified Poster Presentation session. Discussions, conclusions and take home messages will be generated by two panel discussions. These debates will involve distinct stakeholders from industry, academia and the European Commission. They will combine science/technology issues with societal and policy opportunities and barriers. The panel discussions are intended to stimulate a wider socety debate about the transition to a low-carbon mobility system, the requirement of critical metals and the Social License to Operate to mine and/or recycle these metals.

  • Panel discussion 1: REEs and the future of (H)EVs
  • Panel discussion 2: Are REEs still critical? (in close collaboration with GloREIA)

Programme

The preliminary programme with the list of confirmed keynote speakers and their lectures can be viewed here. The detailed programme, including the exact timing of the various lectures, will be made available in due time.

Registration is now open

Invited keynote speakers and interested participants can register through the on-line registration form, available through this URL link.

The DEMETER project

DEMETER video winning the MSCA award of 2018Hybrid 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. The conventional hydrometallurgical routes for the recovery of rare earths from End-of-Life permanent magnets have a high environmental impact due to inefficient use of chemicals, whereas the conventional pyrometallurgical routes for the production of magnet master alloys are energy-inefficient.

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.

Photo Gwen Bailey winning the MSCA award for disseminationAn intersectoral and interdisciplinary consortium of leading EU universities, research institutes and manufacturers from the automotive and magnet sector trains 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs). The research challenges include the development of hydrogen-based grain-refinement technologies to produce nanograin magnets directly from scrap magnets, the recovery of rare earths from SmCo and NdFeB magnets of motors/generators by ionometallurgical methods, and the design of motors/generators with reusable magnets, where the designs are based on 2D and 3D flux paths as well as non-traditional materials.

Want to know more about DEMETER? Watch the award-winning DEMETER video here and/or read the latest DEMETER Policy Brief (on why the EV industry should work together with the producers of REEs) here.

The DEMETER project has received funding from the European Union’s EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 under Grant Agreement No 67497.

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Contact

Venue

Park Inn Hotel Leuven, Martelarenlaan 36, 3010 Leuven, Belgium [More information about the hotel and rooms can be found here]

Organisation

SIM² KU Leuven, ETN DEMETER and GloREIA

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Sponsored by

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EU “Raw Materials Week” 2018

Following the success of the Raw Materials Week 2017, the 3rd edition of the EU “Raw Materials Week” will take place from Monday 12-11 to Friday 16-11-2018 in Brussels. It builds on a series of events organised by the European Commission addressing the latest news on raw materials in the EU. It will be a unique opportunity for the raw materials community to discuss and exchange on all relevant issues: policy, technology, international cooperation, framework conditions, knowledge base etc.

Programme

The 6th High Level Conference of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials is the main event of the week, taking place on 14 November 2018. The main topic of the conference is “Raw materials for low carbon and circular economy”, covering relevant issues including battery value chain, cascading of woody biomass, secondary raw materials for energy-intensive industries. On 12 November a dedicated event  will take place, focusing on Critical Raw Materials. This events includes EU ETN DEMETER, NEMO and CROCODILE as co-organisers. For more information and registration please follow this link: http://eurawmaterialsweek.eu

Background on EC and Raw Materials

Image CRMs for Europe

CRM List EC 2017 (credits image: redrawn by Paul McGuiness)

To address the growing Critical Raw Materials (CRM) concerns, the European Commission launched the European Raw Materials Initiative in 2008. In 2011 the Commission adopted a strategy document which proposes tailored measures to secure and improve access to raw materials for the EU. This strategy is based on a three-pillar approach: (1) fair and sustainable supply of raw materials from international markets, (2) fostering sustainable supply within the EU, (3)  boosting resource efficiency and promoting recycling. Likewise, in 2012-2013 the Commission launched a call for a new EIT KIC in the field of Raw Materials, which eventually led to the erection of EIT RawMaterials. This KIC is the largest and strongest consortium in the raw materials sector worldwide. Its vision is to develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe, while its mission is to boost competitiveness, growth and attractiveness of the European raw materials sector via radical innovation, new educational approaches and guided entrepreneurship. The various EU initiatives mentioned above are all part of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. They are linked to the “Innovation Union” flagship initiative, which was proposed by the Commission in 2010. This global strategy acknowledges the key importance of smart innovation, covering innovation along the entire supply chain as well as the demand side, including in particular extraction, processing and recycling steps. Likewise, issues such as eco-design, substitution and resource efficiency are to be integrated, as is the case in the EIT RawMaterials strategy.