Critical Materials and Life Cycle Management: The Example of Rare Earths – curse or blessing?

Flash Conference Room (Hamburg)

Flash Conference Room



Life Cycle Assessments get more and more in the focus in industry and also in science. iFAST presents a platform for discussing and finding solutions in these topics.
In our workshop we want to focus on the Life Cycle Management using the 
example of Rare Earths Elements (REE), the key material in permanent magnets used in a variety of fields like accelerator, turbines, hard drives and many more. 


On the workshop we will discuss the following points:

  • Life cycle management
    Consider entire life cycle of technical component using critical materials:
     construction – operation – deconstruction
  • Mining and processing of REE
     a socio-ecological approach – energy savings versus destructive mining and processing
  • Using permanent magnets
    Examples of the use of permanent magnets and its Pro and Con
  • Certification for mining and processing of REE
    How to force more sustainable thinking in the production of REE
  • Recycling of permanent magnets
    New processes for the re-use and recycling of permanent magnets
  • Alternatives for permanent magnets with REE
    New magnetic materials as well as improved electromagnets

Science, industry, politics and NGO in cooperation can forces to tackle the problem – we can develop solutions together.




This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research
 and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004730”.

    • 12:30 PM 1:30 PM
      Registration and Coffee
    • 1:30 PM 2:20 PM
    • 2:20 PM 3:00 PM
      Introduction: Rare Earth Elements in accelerator science
      • Rare earths in science and industries
      • Reflexions of rare earths in the context of sustainability
      • Presentation of new approaches for recycling an a certification scheme
      • 2:20 PM
        Overview permanent magnets at accelerator facilities 20m

        Permanent magnets are state-of-the-art magnetic sources for undulators and
        wigglers in current synchrotron light sources. They combine compact magnetic
        energy sources with precision and stable magnetic parameters. In combination
        with the increasing productions efficiency and cost reduction of those PM
        blocks, they are a more and more interesting technology for accelerator
        magnets in next generation synchrotron radiation sources. PM based
        accelerator magnet offer the opportunity for a more compact and stable
        magnetic lattice, as well as a drastic reduction in energy consumption. In
        this talk existing and upcoming accelerator projects with their magnet
        developments will be presented.

        Speaker: Jens Völker (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin)
      • 2:40 PM
        Role of magnets at DESY 20m

        DESY is planning a major upgrade for the PETRA accelerator and with this the number of permanent magnets will be greatly increased. Petra IV and the planned PM magnets are shortly presented and reasons and challenges for the decision for permanent magnets are reflected.

        Speaker: Andrea Klumpp (DESY)
    • 3:00 PM 3:30 PM
      Coffee Break 30m
    • 3:30 PM 4:50 PM
      Contemplation of Rare Earth Elements in the context of sustainability
      • 3:30 PM
        Why we need a raw material transition – the case of cobalt mining in the DRC 20m

        Germany is the 5th largest consumer of raw materials worldwide with more than 99% of all metals being imported. The presentation explores the societal and environmental impacts of mining of focusing on the case of cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It argues that in order to tackle problems like human rights violations, environmental destruction and climate crisis we need a paradigm shift in how we handle our planet’s natural resources (raw material transition/Rohstoffwende).

        Speaker: Julius Neu (INKOTA)
      • 3:55 PM
        Comparison greenhouse gas emissions electro vs. peramanet magnets (preliminary) 20m

        Electromagnets are traditionally used in particle accelerators to control the beam. It's possible to replace them with permanent magnet (PM) devices. This talk examines the environmental impact of electromagnet devices vs PM ones, using a few examples from the CLARA accelerator at STFC's Daresbury Laboratory. The CO₂ cost of electromagnet devices is typically dominated by the energy use in its operational phase.

        Speaker: Ben Shepherd (STFC)
      • 4:20 PM
        Environmental assessment of rare earth elements for magnet applications 20m

        We look at the most pressing environmental issues related to rare earth elements for magnet applications according to LCA results. Moreover, we analyze the mitigation potential of different solution strategies with a scenario approach.

        Speaker: Sabine Langkau (Fraunhofer ISI)
    • 4:50 PM 5:10 PM
      Coffee Break 20m
    • 5:10 PM 6:00 PM
      Rare Earth Elements: sustainability challenges and real world implementation
      • 5:10 PM
        Methodology of LCA in the electronic industry 30m

        How to model Life Cycle Assessment in general and specifically in the electronic industry and get full in depth Environmental Impact Results
        A study case for the production of smart meter will be presented.

        Speaker: Amit Lotan
      • 5:40 PM
        Investigation of rare earth extraction kinetics with interferometry 20m

        Due to the high energy costs and chemical reagent consumption associated with rare earth extraction in conventional systems, the Magsolex project aims to find a new approach to this critical problem by using a magnetic field assisted solvent extraction method.
        An interferometer is used to characterize and study the reactions underlying the processes for a single rare earth element, with the further goal of developing a full-color interferometer to study a ternary rare earth mixture.

        Speaker: Alexander Bidmon (HZDR)
    • 6:00 PM 6:30 PM
      Aperitif 30m
    • 6:30 PM 8:30 PM
    • 8:30 AM 9:00 AM
      Good Morning Coffee 30m
    • 9:00 AM 9:15 AM
      Conclusion day 1 15m
    • 9:15 AM 10:30 AM
      Working session an certification (Discussion)
      • 9:15 AM
        Environmental impacts of rare earth production - Status, challenges and strategies for improvement 20m

        Rare earth elements (REEs) are important raw materials for green technologies. However, their mining and processing are often not environmentally sustainable. The presentation provides an overview of the environmental impacts of current primary REE production based on published Life cycle assessment (LCA) results. Existing major REE deposits in China, Australia, and the US as well as an alternative European RE mineral are compared and improvement strategies are discussed.

        Speakers: Andrea Schreiber (Institute for Energy and Climate Research - Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE)) , Petra Zapp (Institute for Energy and Climate Research - Systems Analysis and Technology Evaluation (IEK-STE))
      • 9:40 AM
        Sustainability standard systems for mineral resources and their applicability for mitigating ESG risks in the RE supply chain 20m

        Several international initiatives have established commodity-unspecific assurance and certification frameworks for mining and mineral supply chains that can also be applied to parts of the rare earth supply chain. This presentation highlights the major ESG risks in rare earth mining and processing, how they can be audited through existing sustainability standards, and present recent developments for more sustainable rare earth supply chains.

        Speaker: Martin Erdmann (BGR)
      • 10:05 AM
        Theory and practice of auditing RE magnet suppliers and their supply chain 20m

        Sourcing RE magnets that fulfil sustainability criteria presents numerous challenges. Using the example of a medium-sized German family company, the talk explores the current possibilities for reducing environmental, social and governance risks in the supply chain and gives an overview of practical approaches for increasing sustainability in magnet procurement.

        Speakers: Lutz Berners (Berners Consulting GmbH) , Thomas Brugger (Brugger GmbH Magnetsysteme)
    • 10:30 AM 10:45 AM
      Coffee Break 15m
    • 10:45 AM 12:00 PM
      Working session an certification (Discussion)
    • 12:00 PM 1:30 PM
      Lunch 1h 30m
    • 1:30 PM 3:10 PM
      Working session on recycling (Intro)
      • 1:30 PM
        Closing the loop for permanent magnets 25m

        Magnetic materials are key components in our everyday life. They are used in a variety of applications in robotics and information technology, as well as in the ongoing “green” energy and mobility transition. Here, materials with the highest demand on performance are needed, making rare earth magnets like Nd-Fe-B the benchmark material of choice. However, sustainability and stability of supply have to be taken into account, whenever this material is used.
        One option to reduce the dependency on the Asian supply monopoly and to increase sustainability of the material, is the implementation of the circular economy for Nd–Fe–B permanent magnets. The recycled magnets compete well with those made from primary materials, that is, in terms of magnetic properties and in terms of production costs. They excel by far rare earth permanent magnets made from primary materials regarding the environmental footprint. Questions to be solved for a circular economy are the dismantling of products after their end-of-life, for bringing scrap magnets back to the market.

        Speaker: Jürgen Gassmann (Fraunhofer IWKS)
      • 2:00 PM
        Sustainable magnets production: Challenges and Chances for a Circular Economy 30m

        Rare earth magnets (neodymium-iron-boron magnets), the strongest type of permanent magnets available, are widely used in the manufacture of modern technology products. They are used in electronics, wind turbines, electric motors and other fields. Unfortunately, most neodymium magnets available on the EU market come from third countries and are currently considered the most critical group of materials in the EU in terms of supply risk.
        The EU-funded SUSMAGPRO and REEsilience projects aim to develop sustainable and resilient supply chains from recycled neodymium magnets and new sources with high ESG standards. This presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities for more sustainable magnet production in Europe by providing an overview of the targeted material sources, the techniques used for separation and segregation of EOL magnets, and the manufacturing technology of sustainable magnets. The talk will also discuss the current development stages of the project pilot plants and the two university spin-offs, HyProMag Ltd. and HyProMag GmbH, and provide an outlook on the path to series production.

        Speaker: Carlo Burkhardt (HS Pforzheim)
      • 2:35 PM
        Permanent Magnet to REE metal or REE alloy. The DysCovery project process routes 20m

        Rare Earth permanent magnets (REPM) are powerful magnets and widely used on the market. The amount of REPM in applications range from grams (electronic applications) to several tons (wind power generators). The major supply of REE for the EU is coming from China and other third party countries. The reuse and recycling of end-of-life (EOL) magnets is important to meet the future demands of the EU in terms of green energy tranformation. Within the EIT RawMaterials funded project DysCovery, the entire route of EOL magnet recycling will be demonstrated. Spent NdFeB and SmCo are hydrometallurgically processed. Pure RE salts will be refined via molten salt electrowinning and new magnets based on recycled material will be produced and tested. Activities of the collaborations DysCovery, REEsilience and other research will contribute to new recycling strategies for the EU.

        Speaker: Daniel Vogt (TU Bergakademie Freiberg)
    • 3:10 PM 3:40 PM
      Coffee Break 30m
    • 3:40 PM 5:00 PM
      Working session on recycling (Intro): Working session on recycling (Discussion)
    • 5:30 PM 6:00 PM
      Aperitif in the CANTEEN
    • 6:05 PM 9:05 PM
    • 8:30 AM 9:00 AM
      Good Morning Coffee 30m
    • 9:00 AM 10:10 AM
      Alternatives magnet designs
      • 9:00 AM
        R&D on HTS undulators at the European XFEL 20m

        The undulator group at the European XFEL has started an R&D project dedicated in developing advanced superconducting undulators (SCUs) concepts. The project consists of two parts: the first one focuses on building up know-how in the design and construction of NbTi-based SCU coils, which are commercially available and established in other laboratories. The second part focuses on applying high-temperature superconductors (HTS) to SCUs . HTS based on Rare-earth barium copper oxides (ReBCO) are a very attractive option. Compared to the low-temperature superconductors (NbTi and Nb3Sn), ReBCO offer higher critical temperature, higher magnetic fields and critical currents at low temperature. I will give an insight into the concept of a hybrid undulator (HybriSCU) based on both NbTi and ReBCO and the first efforts made in the geometry design of an SCU based only on ReBCO. In addition, I will address current limitations related to the ReBCO technology in the undulator field.

        Speaker: Vanessa Grattoni (XFEL)
      • 9:25 AM
        HTS Magnet Development at PSI 20m
        Speaker: Ciro Calzolaio (PSI)
      • 9:50 AM
        Alternative Superconducting Magnets: Energy Saving Solutions for Beam Line Magnets 20m

        Large accelerator facilities have a considerable energy consumption largely due to the numerous resistive magnets used in the medium- and high-energy beamlines. Considering the duty cycle of the machine and the cost of energy, new designs based on superconducting magnets have become increasingly attractive as possible alternatives to the use of energy-intensive resistive solutions. High Temperatures Superconductor coils, made in REBCO (rear earth copper oxide) or MgB2 conductors, can sustain the losses of the ramped magnets thanks to their high energy margin due to the large critical temperature. The research team of University of Milan and INFN-Milano (LASA) is currently developing superconducting magnet designs optimized for replacing the resistive coil of energy-intensive magnet and cope with the strain sensitive behaviour of the HTS and MgB2 material. We will show examples taken from magnets installed in research facilities like CNAO and PSI upgraded to superconducting configurations using conduction cooling solutions at 10-20 K of operating temperature improving the sustainability of such research infrastructures and maximizing the energy saving factor.

        Speaker: Samuele Mariotto (Università degli Studi di Milano)
    • 10:10 AM 10:30 AM
      Coffee Break 20m
    • 10:30 AM 11:30 AM
      Closing remarks and future course
    • 11:30 AM 12:00 PM
      Packing of the Lunch To Go 30m
    • 12:00 PM 1:30 PM
      DESY Guided Tour