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Value Recovery of Rare Earth and Other Critical Elements from Waste Materials and Electronic Devices

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0020766
Agency Tracking Number: 276840
Amount: $1,150,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: C50-06c
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-08-23
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-08-22
Small Business Information
2121 Industrial Park Rd
Boone, IA 50036-3012
United States
DUNS: 080452371
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Bina
 (515) 296-8030
Business Contact
 Daniel Bina
Phone: (515) 296-8030
Research Institution
 Ames Laboratory
 James Morris
305 Technical Administrative Services
Ames, IA 50011-1015
United States

 Federally Funded R&D Center (FFRDC)

This project will contribute to establishing a resilient supply chain for rare-earth elements (REEs) and other critical materials in the U.S., significantly reducing the reliance that now leaves us highly vulnerable to foreign control of rare-earth metals—the ‘vitamins of a modern society.’ Rare-earth metals enable advanced manufacturing, clean transportation, efficient computing, power generation, energy storage, industrial automation, national defense, and high-tech consumer electronics. Successful deployment of key environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies is limited by the availability of rare earth elements. These limitations impact the U.S. economy as well as its national security and energy independence, which is a critical U.S. DOE concern. Novel Rare-Earth Metals Recycling Process Our goal is to commercialize a robust and environmentally benign technology called the acid-free dissolution recycling (ADR) process that enables efficient recovery of rare-earth elements from end-of-life e-waste, electric vehicles and other waste materials. It is the only technology we know of that selectively/efficiently recovers rare-earth metals from dilute end-of-life materials without limiting further recycling of the other components of the wastes. During Phase I of the STTR we advanced the ADR technology by demonstrating its suitability for application in simple and complex types of e-wastes that contain rare-earth elements. Feedstock examples include hard disc drives, drones, speakers, hand tools, electric vehicle motors, and cell phones. We demonstrated that rare-earth elements can be successfully recovered from a complex waste stream containing two magnet compositions, which demonstrates the robustness of the technology. We recovered rare-earth oxides with purity between 99.7 – 99.9% and began processing tens of kilograms of feedstock materials. In Phase IIB our goal is to develop the ADR technology and equipment to efficiently process endof-life electric vehicles for rare earth metal recovery using the ADR technology. Techniques will be developed to optimize the pre-processing of electric vehicle materials for efficient use in the ADR process. We will establish a commercial process for the recovery of rare earths from electric vehicles using the ADR process. Electric vehicle sales forecast that the market will grow significantly over the next 5-10 years. Electric vehicles will quickly become the largest demand for rare earth magnet production globally. With this significant growth a critical need to recover rare earth materials from end-of-life electric vehicles will be created. Commercializing the ADR process will address the need to recover these high-value materials critical for U.S. technology manufacturing, economy and national security.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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