Rare Earth Metals Recycling from E-Wastes: Strategy and Perspective

A robust and economically viable technology is under development for the recycling of technologically important rare earth (RE) metals from end-of-life lamp fluorescent powder (FP) e-waste. This is one of the first efforts to recycle RE from municipal e-waste components to arrive at commercially promising individual RE elements that are knowingly difficult to separate. The process technology addresses the management of strategically important RE resources as also identified by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the EU and the USA department of defence. The methodology to separate Y, Eu, and Tb each to >99% purity from the metal-digested FP waste involves cheap mineral acid for metal digestion and extractive (liquid-liquid) separation protocols with ligands (extractants) under specific conditions. The developed technology has potential for scale up to industrial level, for manifold re-use of extractant and organic phase, as well as for recovering RE metals from other ewaste. The technology is complimentary to the lamp shredding machinery developed and marketed by the project partner (Blubox 2018).

Ludwig, Christian
Valdivia, Sonia
Published in:
Progress towards the Resource Revolution
Mar 01 2019
World Resources Forum
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 Record created 2020-03-22, last modified 2020-03-23

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