Rhodia, Umicore To Recycle Rare Earths | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 26 | p. 16 | Concentrates
Issue Date: June 27, 2011

Rhodia, Umicore To Recycle Rare Earths

Department: Business
Keywords: nickel metal hydride, batteries, rare earths, recycling, hydroquinone

Rhodia and Brussels-based metallurgy expert Umicore have developed a process to recycle increasingly pricey rare earths from rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries. Umicore will use an ultra-high-temperature process at its Hoboken, Belgium, recycling plant to separate nickel and iron in the batteries from rare earths. Rhodia will then refine the rare earths in La Rochelle, France. A typical hybrid electric vehicle NiMH battery contains 2 kg of rare earths, including cerium, lanthanum, and neodymium. Separately, Rhodia will increase its capacity for hydroquinone by 20%. The new capacity, to be on-line by 2012, will meet growing demand, especially in China.

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