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Recycling strategies of wastes containing rare earths: sorption processes by magnetic nanocomposites and liquid membranes for their separation and recovery

Total activity: 11
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
144.716,00 €
Start date
End date
The objective of the project are raised as a continuation of the results obtained in the project currently underway (CTM2014-52770R) that
has studied rare earth separation processes based on sorption by biopolymers and separation membrane and from which is intended to
advance in the knowledge of these systems, as well as the integration of the various processes of separation applied to the recovery of
rare earths by hydrometallurgical routes, from two secondary sources of such elements as case of study: 1) fluorescent lamps, 2)
permanent magnets.
During the past two decades, more than 95% of the production and world trade in rare earths has been controlled by China, and currently
this country holds almost the monopoly on production. In this sense, the hardening in the last years of the export quotas by China and the
difficulty of production out of this country, as well as the growing dependency on rare earths technologies demand, has increased the risk
of supply as evidenced in 2011 by the Crisis of the Rare Earths, in which the price of these elements increased more than ten times just in
a few months.
The demand for rare earth metals is expected to grow 8% until 2020, so the European Commission has classified them, as critical
materials since its scarcity can compromise the development of sustainable energy-related technologies in the coming years.
To address this situation, the EU, which does not have primary deposits of these metals, has opted for the recovery of these items from
secondary sources (urban mines). Products that are at the end of its useful life and containing rare earths, they are magnets and
fluorescent lamps, which represent 70% of the rare earths market in terms of value and therefore the recovery of rare earths, could ensure
the supply of these critical elements.
In this context of the need for recovery of rare earth from secondary sources, that arises this project that is aiming to advance in the
knowledge and development of technologies for separation and recovery based on process hydrometallurgical like liquid membranes and
sorption by magnetic nanocomposites and their integration into separating for the recovery of REE. The recovery in two case studies will
be addressed: recovery of rare earth a) obtained from fluorescent powder, b) of permanent magnets, as these two wastes the most
important sources of heavy rare earths.
Specifically, the objectives focus on the advancement of knowledge of separation processes based to) in the development of new
materials magnetic nanocomposites prepared from the immobilization of magnetic particles in two biopolymers and a combination of
synthetic polymers (polyamides) and functionalized biopolymers; (b) in the development of new membranes that involves the use of ionic
liquids as carriers, in particular, mixtures of various amines with organic acids (mainly natural acids), to mitigate the technical problem of
acidification of the environment that presented all the extractives of acid character and makes it difficult to operate in continuous.
Rare earth elements, Tierras raras, fluorescent lamps, lamparas fluorescentes, magnetic nanocomposites, membranas, membranes, nanocomposites magneticos, recovery, recuperación, sorcion, sorción
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Resoluton year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Agencia Estatal De Investigacion


Scientific and technological production

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