A new year, a new installment of our Materials Science Profiles of Progress series:
The Critical Materials Institute (CMI), a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub under the auspices of Ames Laboratory has announced a new collaboration entered into by one of its industry associates to recover Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from electronic waste. Momentum Technologies is teaming up with Texas-based Wistron GreenTech, the recycling arm of Wistron Corporation to use a proprietary process to collect these critical materials for reuse in a way that is “significantly more efficient and lower cost than traditional processes,” according to CMI’s press release.
The proprietary process developed by the U.S. Department of Energy at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory in project work for the Critical Materials Institute requires “only a single stage for processing” and “recovers highly pure rare-earth oxides (>99.8%) from a wide range of magnetic waste feedstocks including MRI machines, Hard Disk Drives, cell phones, magnet manufacturing scrap, and electric motors.”
The announcement comes only weeks after a new executive order aimed at U.S. reliance on foreign mineral resources. Of course, recycling is no panacea and can only be one piece of the puzzle when it comes to alleviating our mineral resource dependencies, but we’re expecting to see more partnerships like this as stakeholders move to “develop a comprehensive federal action plan to encourage domestic resource production, through mining, recycling and reclamation.”
Other Materials Science Profiles of Progress: