Benefits and impacts

MaXycle will make the vision of the circular economy for RE permanent magnets real, by suppling technical solutions throughout the circular system, combined with social innovation approaches of standardised labelling of magnet qualities, the introduction of recyclate gradings and best-practice recommendations. Current recycling methods for EOLM lead to severe losses along the product and material life cycle and are commercially unattractive, with currently less than 1% of the world’s REs are being recycled. A lack of transparency of material flows along the recycling chain and illegal and dubious export streams result in greatly reduced amounts of recycled material and because of the high variance in primary production methods of magnets and in the mining of raw materials, it is very difficult to assess the true carbon and energy footprints of magnets now entering the EU. The project will facilitate the recycling of NdFeB magnets with high yields at reasonable costs, with low energy consumption and minimum environmental impact by delivering:

1) a functional, reliable, easy-to-use eco-labelling system for magnets, allowing clear identification of materials and containing all recycling-relevant information, laying the foundation for a European standard and reference handbook on environmental labelling for magnets

2) a standardised recyclate grade classification system for EOLM, giving a clear indication of how cost effective any magnet can be recycled, and providing valuable information to end-users and decision makers about the environmental impact, helping to facilitate efficient eco-design

3) a systematic comparison of currently available coating methods and their suitability for HPMS-treatment at industrial scale; investigation/development of new coating removal methods and classification of the currently employed coatings/residues with respect to recyclability incl. an estimation of today’s and expected future quantities, to integrate these materials into recycling concepts

4) an extensive investigation to compare currently available upgrading routes for recycled magnets as a function of the quality of recycled ingot material based on performance, quality and price benchmarked against requirements of primary materials and assessed for environmental benefits over primary production