Electronics scrap gathered for recycling.

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working toward commercializing their rare earth element recovery technology. | KPixMining/Shutterstock

Chemical engineers have successfully scaled up a method for recycling rare earth elements using membrane solvent extraction.

Previous work done at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory with Momentum Technologies piloted an industrial-scale process for recycling rare earth elements (REEs) from e-scrap magnets.

Now, the technique has been scaled up to achieve high-purity separations, and researcher Ramesh Bhave said the system “is modular and scalable with a small footprint and minimal waste” in a Oak Ridge National Laboratory press release.

Bhave previously worked on other rare earth element research for the laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Syed Islam added that the team is “working with partners toward commercialization and exploring applications to recycle REEs used in growing technology areas, such as wind power and electric vehicles.”

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