The Mineral Resources & Recycling Business Unit of Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC, President: Hiroshi Yao, capital: 119,400 million yen) in cooperation with Honda Trading Corporation (Minato-ku, Tokyo), and Mark Corporation (Suzuka-shi, Mie) has been engaged in development of recycling technology for recovery of rare earth permanent magnets from motors of scrapped vehicles. And today we would like to announce that recently the Company's proposal entitled ”Development of technology for recovery of rare metals from scrapped vehicles“ submitted to New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for grant support under the theme of “Development of Recycling Technology for Collection of High-Performance Rare Earth Permanent Magnets from Used Motors” has been chosen by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a part of its “Development of Alternate Materials for Rare Metals Project”.
- 1. Background of the Development Work
- Due to the increasing awareness among the consumers of the issues of environmental preservation, demand for hybrid cars and other types of vehicles manufactured so as to decrease their environmental footprint is currently increasing in the auto industry, and according to estimations, as many as approximately 400,000 hybrid cars will be scrapped every year by 2020. Since hybrid cars are equipped with various electric parts, they carry a large number of rare earth elements and rare metals such as neodymium and dysprosium. As these elements are scarce and unevenly distributed, there are concerns of depletion of the resources or sharp rise of prices for them. And while there is a pressing need to maintain stable procurement of the elements, as of today there is no established technology to recycle them.
For this reason, as our Group operates five companies engaged in recycling of home electronics and developing the recycling system of rare earth permanent magnets from consumer electronics, we have decided to be the first in the world and launch development of a technology for recovery of rare earth permanent magnets from used hybrid cars and validate the effectiveness of the recycling system thus developed. This initiative shall answer the current social need of ensuring more stable methods of procuring rare earth elements and help achieve safer ways of acquiring natural resources.
- 2. Organization of Development Work
- In order to develop the technology for and efficient collection of rare earth permanent magnets, in cooperation with firstly Honda Trading Corporation that shall offer support in validation of the effectiveness of the developed collecting system, and secondly Mark Corporation that will help with pre-processing of the collected parts and installation of the validation facility, the Company shall take out driving motors from hybrid cars mainly manufactured by Honda and as the leader of the enterprise develop the recycling technology, design and manufacture a validation facility, conduct validation tests, design the whole recycling system including the process of collection of discarded hybrid cars and validate it.
(For your reference) Organizational Chart
Mitsubishi Materials through recycling and supplying materials that serve as the foundation of our lives has always made efforts to make our society capable of sustainable development, tackling the tasks required to construct a recycling society of a high order, and preserve and improve the environment around us. By establishing a technology of collection of rare earth permanent magnets from discarded hybrid cars, we will be able to make yet another step towards effective use of natural resources, contribute to stable procurement of resources, and reduce the amounts of natural resources used. The Company shall strive to always make new contributions striving for an earth-friendly recycling society.