UK to Recycle Rare Earth Magnets From Old Wind Turbines

by | 12. Sep 2023 - 16:26 | Politics

Government funding pledged to set up first circular supply chain.

The United Kingdom is pushing ahead with the recycling of rare earth magnets in wind turbines. One million pounds (1.2 million dollars) in funding has been pledged to the “Re-RE Wind” project to build the first circular supply chain. The announcement was made Tuesday by participating company HyProMag, a UK-based recycler of rare earth magnets owned by Canadian mining group Mkango Resources. The money comes from the Circular Critical Materials Supply Chains (CLIMATES) fund to build a circular economy for critical minerals (we reported).

In addition to HyProMag, the project involves metal recycler European Metal Recycling Limited (EMR), research center Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, clean tech company Magnomatics, and the University of Birmingham. The project starts against the background that the first generation of wind turbines are nearing the end of their useful life. The idea is to decommission them with as few emissions as possible and serve as a new domestic source of rare earths, Mkango writes. The wind power industry in particular uses very large quantities of rare earth magnets, EMR said. If an alternative source is not found, Britain’s energy transition could be drastically slowed, with material shortages of 240,000 tons looming by 2040.

As we reported, the CLIMATES Fund is also supporting a project to recycle rare earth magnets for use in Ford electric vehicles, among other projects. The United Kingdom last year unveiled its first Critical Minerals Strategy to strengthen its supply chains in the face of increased geopolitical competition.

Photo: iStock/xiao zhou

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