Recycled magnets can be used to power motors in the electric mobility sector, without any power loss compared to new magnets. As proven by FunMAG project, developed by Fraunhofer Institut: «During the process, magnets absorb a bit of oxygen, which results in a slight deterioration of quality, but we can contrast it by adding from 10 to 20 percent of new material or by further processing magnets’ microstructure”, explained Konrad Opelt, project head and material scientist.
Neodymium-based magnets are the most powerful at disposal on the market and represent about half of motor’s costs because, as the name suggests, they contain rare earth elements like neodymium or dysprosium. The mining activity releases poisonous by-products that can pollute groundwater, causing damages to both people and to nature. Although the manufacturing process is expensive and problematic, magnets are generally rejected and melt together with steel scraps.
Nowadays researchers are working to optimize the treatment during the recycling process.