Electrochemical extraction of Nd from scrap magnets

Period of Performance: 07/11/2016 - 07/10/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Materials Modification, Inc.
2809-K Merrilee Drive Array
Fairfax, VA 22031
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


A variety of daily use products today, such as magnets, cell phones, catalytic convertors etc., use rare earth elements such as Neodymium, which are not available in US, but have to be wholly imported from China. With export restrictions in China, it has become imperative to develop methods to reclaim Nd from discarded products to sustain a viable domestic supply chain. Extracting rare earth elements such as Nd from discarded or scrap permanent magnets and motors is thus of critical importance to ensure that there are no disruptions in the supply chain. In this effort, MMI will develop a novel electrochemical route to directly extract Nd from discarded magnets by working with existing scrap dealers. Phase I will focus on determining the scientific, technical and commercial feasibility of the idea. Phase II will involve optimization of the proposed process, enhancement of yields and establishment of commercial viability of the electrochemical process of Nd retrieval. This phase will also involve demonstration of the technology in the production, testing and integration of the technology into mainstream metal recovery through system analysis.