Further details have been published regarding an Innovate UK grant-funded project that will for the first time establish an end to end supply chain to incorporate recycled rare earth magnets into electric vehicles.
“Rare-Earth Recycling for E-Machines” (RaRE) is being led by University of Birmingham spin-off HyProMag and will for the first time establish an end to end supply chain to incorporate recycled rare earth magnets into electric vehicles, whereby recycled magnets will be built into an ancillary electric motor to ultimately support the development of a commercial ancillary motor suite.
It will use a patented process for extracting and demagnetising neodymium iron boron alloy powders from magnets embedded in scrap and redundant equipment named HPMS (Hydrogen Processing of Magnet Scrap).
In addition to HyProMag and the University of Birmingham (UoB), the project features a strong set of partners, including Advanced Electric Machines Research Limited, Bentley Motors Limited, Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions Limited, and Unipart Powertrain Applications Limited.
I believe this is industry, technology, recycling and innovation working together at its impressive best
The total budget for RaRE is £2.6 million, of which Innovate UK will fund £1.9 million with project partners funding the £0.7 million balance.
HyProMag’s contribution will be fully funded from the £300,000 investment made by Maginito in January 2020.
Nick Mann, Operations General Manager of HyProMag stated: “RaRE is an exciting project and a fantastic opportunity to prove the importance and worth of short loop recycled magnetic material.
“NdFeB magnets are essential for many future technologies, and the emerging electric vehicle market is of increasing importance. Being involved at this level means we not only get to work with and supply recycled magnets to some of the most innovative and globally recognised companies, but also allows us to influence the design of products with the aim of making recycling a better option in the future.
“I believe this is industry, technology, recycling and innovation working together at its impressive best.”
Building on work completed at the UoB to devise a method to extract magnets from waste electronics, HyProMag will scale up the HPMS process and re-process the product back into new magnetic materials at pilot scale to demonstrate the quality of material which can be produced in terms of its magnetic behaviour, mechanical performance and corrosion resistance, all of which are key to the end user application.
Intelligent Lifecycle Solutions will establish the scrap sorting process to maximise process efficiency and rare earth material volumes.
The recycled magnets will be built into an ancillary electric motor designed by Advanced Electric Machines Research to a Bentley Motors specification and focused on reducing the overall complexity of electrical systems in electric vehicles and designed with recycling in mind.
This will be the first time that such a recycled motor will have been demonstrated. Unipart will take this motor design and use it as the core focus for the design of a flexible volume motor assembly line suitable for production volumes of 100,000 units per year.
The Magnetic Materials Group within the School of Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham has been active in the field of rare earth alloys and processing of permanent magnets using hydrogen for over 40 years.
Originated by Professor Rex Harris, the hydrogen decrepitation method, which is used to reduce NdFeB alloys to a powder, is now ubiquitously employed in worldwide magnet processing.
For more information, visit HyProMag.