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Analysis of Sustainable Methods to Recover Neodymium

  • periyapperuma, kalani
  • sanchez-cupido, laura
  • pringle, jennifer m.
  • pozo-gonzalo, cristina
Publication Date
Sep 17, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/suschem2030030
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Neodymium (Nd) is one of the most essential rare-earth metals due to its outstanding properties and crucial role in green energy technologies such as wind turbines and electric vehicles. Some of the key uses includes permanent magnets present in technological applications such as mobile phones and hard disk drives, and in nickel metal hydride batteries. Nd demand is continually growing, but reserves are severely limited, which has put its continued availability at risk. Nd recovery from end-of-life products is one of the most interesting ways to tackle the availability challenge. This perspective concentrates on the different methods to recover Nd from permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries, covering the most developed processes, hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy, and with a special focus on electrodeposition using highly electrochemical stable media (e.g., ionic liquids). Among all the ionic liquid chemistries, only phosphonium ionic liquids have been studied in-depth, exploring the impact of temperature, electrodeposition potential, salt concentration, additives (e.g., water) and solvation on the electrodeposition quality and quantity. Finally, the importance of investigating new ionic liquid chemistries, as well as the effect of other metal impurities in the ionic liquid on the deposit composition or the stability of the ionic liquids are discussed. This points to important directions for future work in the field to achieve the important goal of efficient and selective Nd recovery to overcome the increasingly critical supply problems.

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