LIFE RECYMAGNET - New demonstrative pilot plant for the recycling of NdFeB magnets from discarded HDDs

LIFE13 ENV/ES/000703

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Claudio FERNÁNDEZ
Fax: 34948640319
Email: lurederra@lurederra.es

Project description:


Currently most of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is incinerated or sent to landfill. This waste stream needs to be correctly managed to prevent the release of the many toxic compounds in WEEE into the environment. Spain produces about 200 000 tonnes of WEEE per year. This waste is also rich in scarce natural elements for which there is market demand.

One such element is the rare earth metal neodymium (Nd), a basic component of the neodymium magnet (NdFeB), which is used in the production of hard disk drives (HDD). Nd is a very scarce element, and 97% of reserves are found in China. The extraction of Nd, like most rare earths, is complex and environmentally harmful.


Studies have shown that about 35% of the rare earths contained in NdFeB magnets in HDD can be easily recovered. The main objective of the LIFE RECYMAGNET project is to design and demonstrate a pilot plant with a treatment capacity of 75 HDD/h which will be able to recycle NdFeB magnets from discarded HDDs and recover up to 80% of their active magnetic materials. The pilot plant will be divided into two modules: the first shreds the HDD and detects and extracts NdFeB magnets; the second includes demagnetisation, size reduction and screening, and purification by magnetic separation, producing a powder. The use of the powder will be demonstrated by using it to directly manufacture recycled NdFeB magnets. The project will also test the powder in the production of liquid precursors for flame spray pyrolysis and, subsequently, nanoparticles of the mixed oxide in the proper composition, which will be then used to produce a nano-based magnet.

Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following:

  • Design and development of a demonstration plant with a recycling capacity of 75 HDD/h, and the capability to recover up to 80% of the rare earth content of NdFeB magnets in HDD, with a purity of over 95%;
  • An 85% weight reduction of the waste produced from shredding and processing HDDs, as a result of the magnet-detection device that allows more accurate separation of the material; and
  • A methodology for producing NdFeB mixed-oxide nanoparticles to be used in the production of nano-based recycled magnets.



Environmental issues addressed:


Industry-Production - Electric - Electronics - Optical
Waste - Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
Waste - Waste reduction - Raw material saving


waste reduction‚  raw material consumption‚  metal products industry‚  electronic material‚  waste use‚  waste recycling

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Type of organisation Research institution
Description L´Urederra Foundation is a private non-commercial organisation devoted to innovation in the fields of new materials, in particular nanomaterials, and the environment.
Partners MAGNETSALE(Magnet Sales and Service Limited), United Kingdom COOLREC(COOLREC BV), Netherlands MOS(MACHINEFABRIEK OTTO SCHOUTEN, B.V.), Netherlands


Project reference LIFE13 ENV/ES/000703
Duration 01-SEP-2014 to 28-FEB -2018
Total budget 1,426,007.00 €
EU contribution 688,753.00 €
Project location Galicia(España) Asturias(España) Cantabria(España) País Vasco(España) Navarra(España) Rioja(España) Aragón(España) Madrid(España) Castilla-León(España) Castilla-La Mancha(España) Extremadura(España) Cataluña(España) Comunidad Valenciana(España) Baleares(España) Andalucía(España) Murcia(España) Ceuta y Melilla(España) Canarias(España) Groningen(Nederland) Friesland(Nederland) Drenthe(Nederland) Overijssel(Nederland) Gelderland(Nederland) Flevoland(Nederland) Noord-Brabant(Nederland) Limburg(Nederland) Utrecht(Nederland) Noord-Holland(Nederland) Zuid-Holland(Nederland) Zeeland(Nederland) North(United Kingdom) Yorkshire and Humberside(United Kingdom) East Midlands(United Kingdom) East Anglia(United Kingdom) South East (UK)(United Kingdom) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) West Midlands(United Kingdom) North West (UK)(United Kingdom) Wales(United Kingdom) Scotland(United Kingdom) Northern Ireland(United Kingdom) Gibraltar(United Kingdom)


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Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version