Nissan and Waseda University are testing a jointly developed recycling process that recovers high-purity rare-earth compounds from EV motor magnets.
- A carburizing material and pig iron are added to the motor, which is then heated to at least 1,400 C and begins to melt.
- Iron oxide is added to oxidize the REEs in the molten mixture.
- A small amount of borate-based flux, which is capable of dissolving rare-earth oxides even at low temperatures and highly efficiently recovering REEs, is added to the molten mixture.
- The molten mixture separates into two liquid layers, with the molten oxide layer(slag) that contains the REEs floating to the top, and the higher density iron-carbon(Fe-C) alloy layer sinking to the bottom.
- The REEs are then recovered from the slag.
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